Every player isn’t cut out for the one-and-done fad that has permeated throughout college basketball in recent years. In fact there are hundreds of young men who have had the gall to remain on campus for the entire four years of eligibility allowed.
Sure statistics will correctly point out the fact that most of today’s NBA prospects leave school early, but the others who stick around often are forgotten or dismissed. Nobody wants to be the next Christian Laettner (for those of you too young or blissfully ignorant to remember, he remains one of the greatest college players of all time), nor do many folks feel a strong desire to take after the immensely effective Doug McDermott.
Becoming a senior has turned into almost a knock against a player, but if you take the time to look around there is no shortage of grisly four year veterans who are making a huge impact on the college stage, and will continue to do the same at the next level.
Luckily for its program and fans, the Iowa basketball team has one of those players in Devyn Marble.
The senior has been Iowa’s most consistent, and often times spectacular performer this season as the program seeks its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2006. Marble has put up 16.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and nearly two steals in relatively modest minutes (28.5 per game) due to the deep rotation utilized by Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. The only area the 6-6 guard has struggled is at the free throw line, where his percentage dropped from over 80 a year ago, to the the mid-60’s the first half of this season.
These are all solid numbers, and not too dissimilar to those from last year. However, the biggest difference for Marble in 2013-14 has been his increased level of production in conference play. His scoring has bumped up to almost 18ppg, but the most noticeable change has been a return to a respectable 74.6% shooting at the foul line in addition to a torrid stretch from behind the arc. Marble has hit on nearly 46% of his 3-point tries against Big Ten opponents, a number usually reserved for spot-up marksmen.
The Hawkeye leader has also been at his best in some of Iowa’s biggest victories. He single-handedly kept his team in a game against Xavier in the Bahamas with 30 points, notched 22 points in a road win at 3rd ranked Ohio State, and poured in six first half treys yesterday as the Hawkeyes triumphed over no. 10 Michigan.
Sure Marble has had a few games and moments that he would probably like to have back, but for the majority of this season he has excelled. It almost feels as though with each passing game his confidence continues to grow and rub off on his teammates.
The son of Iowa’s all-time leading scorer Roy Marble, Devyn has more than carved out his own niche in Hawkeye basketball history. Much like his father did, the younger Marble continues his ascension through the program’s scoring hierarchy while keeping his focus squarely down the road towards March. How far the Hawkeyes go is still uncertain at this point, but you can bet that their senior leader is going to play a big part in whatever they do.
And maybe, just maybe, he can help show kids that being a senior can still be pretty darn cool too.