IOWA CITY, Ia. — Devyn Marble has started at three positions for Iowa’s basketball team this season. Illinois coach John Groce calls him “a matchup nightmare.”
Any game now, that versatility will make history. Heading into Tuesday’s 6 p.m. game against Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the 6-foot-6 junior needs 23 points to reach the 1,000-point career milestone. Devyn’s father, Roy, is Iowa’s career scoring leader with 2,116 points. They will become the first father-son tandem in Big Ten history to reach 1,000 points at the same school when it happens.
“I still look back at the times as a dad when I worried, ‘Can he follow me and be successful at the same time?’ ” Roy Marble said. “Can he handle being the other Roy?’ He’s done it in such an unselfish way. This is unchartered territory. I’m so happy for him.”
Marble, averaging 14.2 points per game, is the leading scorer on an Iowa team that is 7-9 in Big Ten play and 18-11 overall. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said that Marble’s march to a grand has come without fatherly interference.
“I think Roy’s been good in the sense that he encourages him,” McCaffery said. “He doesn’t crowd him, doesn’t put pressure on him. I don’t think Devyn feels that way at all. I think it’s a very good relationship. I appreciate that.”
Roy Marble will be at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Tuesday to see Devyn play against an Illinois team that is 21-9 overall and 8-8 in Big Ten play. Roy plans to watch him play there next season, too. During the summer, Devyn openly talked about entering the 2013 NBA Draft if he had a breakout junior season.
“You say that because it’s your goal and your dream,” Roy said. “I really think he’s looking forward to being on a ranked team. I think he loves Iowa City, his teammates and coaches a little too much, and at the same time he can get better. He loves his team too much to take off.”
Marble has started at point guard, shooting guard and small forward this season.
“It’s not an easy thing to do, but I think it is for him,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “He’s playing three different positions, sometimes in the same game. He came with a great basketball IQ. But I think he’s a student of the game. He’s a competitor. He’s in phenomenal condition. And I’m really proud that he’s persevered through what was a shooting slump for him. And now he’s scoring for us and being that dominant player.”
Marble scored two points, total, in road losses at Minnesota and Wisconsin. He’s averaged 19 points in the six games since, shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 88.5 percent from the line. Three of his eight career 20-point-plus games have come in that stretch.
“It doesn’t surprise you that he’s played three positions,” Groce said. “He can play. He can pass, shoot, handle. He’s got all the tricks … jabs, shot fakes. He’s just a really good basketball player with very good size, and that makes him very versatile and makes him a matchup nightmare.”
TUESDAY’S IOWA MEN’S GAME
WHO: Illinois (21-9, 8-8 Big Ten) at Iowa (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
TIPOFF: 6 p.m.
TICKETS: $22 adults, $10 youth (18-under)
TELEVISION: Big Ten Network
RADIO: WHO-AM (1040) and Hawkeye Radio Network
STAT LEADERS: For Illinois — Brandon Paul 16.1 ppg; Nnanna Egwu 4.5 rpg; Tracy Abrams 3.4 apg; for Iowa — Devyn Marble 14.2 ppg; Aaron White 6.2 rpg; Anthony Clemmons 3.3 apg.
ABOUT THE ILLINI: Illinois won this season at Gonzaga, the newly minted No. 1 team in the nation, and also defeated Indiana in Champaign on Feb. 7 when the Hoosiers were No. 1.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Iowa coach Fran McCaffery is considering a change in his starting lineup, replacing Josh Oglesby with Eric May to better match up with the Illini guard court.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Illinois started the season 13-0, lost eight of its next 11 and has since won six of seven.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball