NORTH LIBERTY, Ia. — Devyn Marble had a summer class on the night of last month’s NBA Draft. When he got home and turned on his television, Ohio State sophomore Jared Sullinger had just been selected by Boston with the 21st pick of the first round.
Marble watched. And he dreamed.
“Some of those guys (drafted), I grew up playing against in AAU,” said Iowa’s junior-to-be guard. “Their lives have changed in a year or two. I see that is possible. It does motivate me to keep working. Since the draft, there’s been a little fire in my soul to keep pushing myself, and help the team get better.”
Marble’s path to the NBA remains uncharted. A first-round pick like his father, Roy, in 1989? If he improves as much next season as he did in 2011-12, Marble’s pro stock will make a significant jump.
Marble’s budding skill set is on display again this summer in the Prime Time League. A point guard out of necessity last season, Marble is expected to play second guard or small forward this season. The fact that he’s even playing for Iowa was a journey as well.
Marble signed a letter of intent with the Hawkeyes and coach Todd Lickliter in the fall of 2009. The following spring, Lickliter was fired and Marble began to wonder about his future. He heard that Dayton coach Brian Gregory was a candidate.
“Coach Gregory had recruited me to Dayton,” Marble said. “I thought, ‘He knows what I can do. That would be good.’ All of a sudden, coach (Fran) McCaffery gets the
Marble decided to give Detroit and coach Ray McCallum another look. He had picked Iowa over the Titans. Iowa or Detroit?
“I was down to those two,” Marble said. “I was playing my options, like any other kid would.”
McCaffery came to Marble’s home in Southfield, Mich., with several staff members in tow, to recruit Devyn all over again.
“I was still unsure,” Marble said. “He told me how he felt I would fit into his system.”
McCaffery came for a second visit.
“I just wanted to make sure the coaches wanted me,” Marble said. “Everything coach McCaffery has told me, he’s lived up to. He’s never lied to me. I love him to death, to be honest with you. I made the right decision.”
Marble’s versatility will be a plus as Iowa’s rebuilding process, which resulted in an 18-17 record last season, tries to take another step. The arrival of freshman point guards Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons will allow Marble to play more without the ball.
He’s working on his jumper over the summer, both from mid-range and 3-point distance. Ball-handling, improving lateral quickness and defense are other goals.
“No. 1 is defense,” Marble said.
Marble improved his scoring average from 5.7 points as a freshman to 11.5 as a sophomore. His minutes also increased, from 19.1 a game to 29.5. Better numbers have also increased expectations.
“You can’t be satisfied with what you did the year before,” Marble said. “That’s what makes me want to get better.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball