Nov. 7, 2012
Editor's note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Monday, Aug. 6, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2012-13 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- If Roy Devyn Marble had listened to his mother's advice, chances are he wouldn't be playing basketball at the University of Iowa.
It wasn't about the academics or distance from his hometown of Southfield, Mich., that concerned Joi Thrash, Marble's mother. It had nothing to do with the UI men's basketball program. Thrash knew if her son became a Hawkeye, he would be labeled as Roy Marble's son.
"My mom had some doubts," said Marble. "She didn't want that kind of pressure on me, but at the time, I didn't really care. I didn't think too much about it, I was young and dumb, and wanted to do it my way.
"A good trait and characteristic about me is that I don't let things get in my way. I don't think too much of it, I look at it as, this is where my dad went to school, and not really about the accolades he got from being here. At the end of the day, it was my decision, and I made the right one."
Marble's first year at Iowa coincided with head coach Fran McCaffery's first season with the Hawkeyes. Marble was solid as a freshman, playing all 31 games, while averaging 5.7 points and 2.4 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game. He reached double figures in five games, including an 18-point outing in a home victory over Indiana.
From year one to year two, Marble took his game to another level. He finished his sophomore season by averaging 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He scored in double digits in 23 games, including 15 times in the final 18 contests.
"It was a big jump, but I feel like I can make another jump of the same estimate," said Marble. "It is really a mindset you have to have. You can't let other people and things dictate what you do, you have to go after it."
From the beginning to the end of his sophomore season, McCaffery saw Marble emerge as one of the top players in the Big Ten Conference.
"Toward the end of last year you saw him become one of the premier players in our league, and he did that by showing an array of skills," said McCaffery. "He played point, drove it, and was able to play in transition. He scored in 1-on-1, played pick-and-rolls, and in zones. He really played with a tremendous amount of confidence."
Marble developed into a playmaker for the Hawkeyes as a sophomore, coming up with "big-time" plays in crucial situations. Three plays stand out in Marble's mind as career highlights... thus far.
With Iowa clinging to a 68-65 lead at Wisconsin on Dec. 31, 2011, Marble hit a floater from the right baseline with 21 seconds remaining to clinch a Hawkeye win, and end the Badgers' 23-game home winning streak against non-ranked opponents.
"That shot kind of sealed the deal," said Marble. "That was probably the biggest shot I have hit currently in my career."
Marble's other two personal highlights came in a come-from-behind 63-59 victory over Minnesota on Feb. 1, 2012. With the Hawkeyes trailing 59-57, Marble made a one-handed slam dunk over 6-foot-11 Gopher center Ralph Sampson III to tie the game. The play was nominated for the Geico Play of the Year. Marble had another game-clinching play when he assisted on Matt Gatens' lay-up with eight seconds remaining.
"Those three plays stick out most in my mind," said Marble. "They're my three favorites from last season. They were all big-time plays. That's what I pride myself on is being a playmaker."
Marble was a playmaker in the truest sense in the team's season-finale against Oregon in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Marble finished with 31 points, five rebounds and five assists at Oregon. He made a career-high 10 field goals, connecting on 7-of-8 attempts from 3-point range.
"I had the mindset that I was going to come in and be aggressive," said Marble. "I had made up my mind that I was really going to look for my shot."
Marble used the performance against the Ducks as a motivating factor heading into the offseason.
"Once you have accomplished that, you want to have more games like that," said Marble. "That is the challenge for me, and the goal is for me to continue playing like that as much as possible."
Throughout the offseason, Marble's focus has been centered on the word dominate.
"I want to be dominant at all times when I am on the court," he said. "I want to be the best player on the court. That started with me developing the mindset that I am the best player on the court."
McCaffery has seen growth from Marble. He sees a player who is determined to be the best.
"We saw a skinny freshman have some phenomenal moments, then we saw him establish himself in this conference as one of the premier players in the league last year," said McCaffery. "So now what's the next step?"
For the Hawkeyes to get where they strive to be -- playing in deep March in the NCAA Tournament -- McCaffery says Marble has to take another step and be a star.
"We beat Michigan last year, and Marble was the best perimeter player on the floor," said McCaffery. "That's saying a lot. They had (Tim) Hardaway (Jr.), Trey Burke, and we had Matt Gatens. On that day Marble was the best perimeter player. The challenge for him is to be the best player regularly, which he was a lot more than he wasn't."
Marble is cherishing the role of having added responsibilities on his shoulders, but he knows he can't do it alone.
"We have a lot of good players on this team... Aaron White, Melsahn (Basabe), the five freshmen," he said. "The key is not so much scoring to be a star, but finding ways to make an impact on the game, whether it is offense or defense. I am going to come in and try to dominate every game that I can.
"Sometimes that might be being able to pass the ball with assists or stealing it. It depends on the game and what we need. It's taking over in different aspects of the game at certain points."
If Marble's evolution continues, he will no longer be referred to as Roy Marble's son.
Instead, Iowa's all-time leading scorer will be Roy Devyn Marble's dad.