20.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 4 rebounds.
These were the per game averages of Iowa’s Devyn Marble in the final five games of last season that spanned a run to the NIT championship game. Despite the small sample size, these numbers are impressive for any player in any stretch of games. What makes them even more interesting are the circumstances under which those games occurred, and how the success could transfer into this upcoming season.
Up until a late season foot injury that hampered freshman starting point guard Mike Gesell, Marble played primarily on the wing for the Hawkeyes. However, with Gesell limited and minimal experience behind him, Coach Fran McCaffery turned to the most reliable ball-handler left on his roster in Marble.
He responded in a big way and helped to cap off a season in which the Hawkeyes won 25 games (tied for second most in school history). Now heading into his senior season Marble hopes to build upon the high level of play he attained to close out 2012-13 as he takes over full-time at the point. Ask Coach McCaffery and he’s sure to tell you just how much confidence he has in his newly tabbed floor general.
The role is not completely unfamiliar to Marble, but it’s not one that Iowa fans probably envisioned when he committed to play for the Hawkeyes.
As the son of the all time leading scorer in Hawkeye history, Roy Marble, many Iowans hoped for another scoring machine in Devyn. While he can certainly do that when called upon, the younger Marble’s all-around game has done more than enough to help him forge his own legacy as a Hawkeye. It’s highly unlikely that he will eclipse his father’s scoring total, but instead he can stake his claim as the first Iowa player ever to amass over 1100 points, 350 rebounds, and 275 assists in his first three seasons of action.
Without a doubt Marble inherited a few of the skills that made his father such a beloved figure in Hawkeyes history, but he and the Iowa coaching staff have also found ways to utilize his abilities entering his senior season in ways that his father never did.
Marble not only has three years of playing experience to build upon this season, but he has a unique characteristic that will make him a handful for opposing point guards. Devyn Marble stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs in at over 200 pounds. It is extremely rare to find a point guard that size at any level of basketball.
His size and length allow Marble to shoot comfortably over smaller defenders, and continued work on his post-up game will give him multiple opportunities each game to score easy baskets inside.
To assume that Marble will be merely a score-first point guard would be a mistake though as he has averaged over three assists per game each of his last two seasons playing on the wing. His size is an asset that allows him to see over the defense and make passes that a smaller guard might not even recognize are available.
After seeing his scoring average increase each of the last three seasons, Marble’s numbers may actually take a dip this year, at least in that category. The supporting cast around him returns almost entirely intact, and the addition of two other newcomers capable of putting the ball in the basket should lessen some of the scoring burden placed on Marble’s shoulders.
Fans of Iowa basketball should look for more of the same all-around prowess from Devyn Marble this season to go along with the increase in urgency and efficiency that are seen in many seniors across the landscape of college basketball each year. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone to see his same listed on an All-Big Ten team following this season. In doing so Marble would likely cement his status as one of the best players to put on a black and gold uniform over the past decade.
Marble’s senior season and legacy are in his own hands. Now all we have to do is sit back and watch.