Howe: Jack of All Trades

Marble is Mr. Everything for Hawkeyes as they blast past Brown in Carver on Saturday.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - How good is Devyn Marble?

Just ask him.

"I can do anything and everything," Marble said. "I can defend. When I come in the game, I usually guard the best player. I can rebound. If Coach (Fran) McCaffery asks me to rebound, I can do it. I can get my teammates involved; and then scoring, too.

"I just feel like I can do anything and everything that you ask of me."

Cocky? Yeah, it might come off that way. Expect, he's right. He's the most versatile, and for my money, the best player on the Iowa team so far this season.

It's more confidence than conceit with the Hawkeyes sophomore. He believes in his abilities and works to make them better.

Marble displayed his large array of talents in full force during Saturday's 75-54 wipeout of Brown at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Michigan native scored 11 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out four assists without a turnover.

In about 21 minutes a game this season, Marble has averaged 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists. When back-up point gaurd Cully Payne transferred after last season, many observers wondered if Marble could spell starter Bryce Cartwrigtht at the position. To date, he has 23 assists and four turnovers.

Marble is not is father, Roy Marble Sr., the school's all-time leading scorer and human highlight reel. Devyn's all-around game is much more polished than was his dad's, however.

"Coach (Sherman) Dillard told me that even though I didn't score in the second half, I still found a way to dominate the game," Marble said after Saturday's contest. "That's what I planned on doing."

Marble dished out all four of his assists in the second half. They included a sweet feed to Aaron White for a dunk.

"He's huge," Senior Matt Gatens said of Marble. "He was just all over the place today and that's what we need from him on both ends of the court. His size at that position (point guard) can be a huge asset for us."

Last season, Marble struggled with consistency backing up Cartwright when Payne was hurt. McCaffery played him at multiple positions and that seemed to keep him from excelling much of the time at any of them.

This year has been completely different. He's playing well with Cartwright on the floor or in place of the starter at point guard.

"That's just confidence and knowing you can play multiple positions and knowing your coach has confidence in you to be able to do that," Marble said. "I know every play from (positions) one to five. I can play the five on a play because I know everything about the offense and all the nuances. That's just how I am. That's just the way I move."

Marble's classmate Melsahn Basabe broke out of a funk on Saturday. After scoring two points in each of the previous four games, he notched his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"Once you get him going, they start double-teaming him," Marble said. "He was kicking it out and guards were able to drive and dish. Everybody was just creating for each other and that helped us out a lot."

While that's true, Marble was most responsible for helping the Hawkeyes build a 14-point halftime lead on Saturday. His defense and length on the perimeter made life difficult for an undersized and less athletic Brown team.

"He was great; his energy level; his overall effectiveness," McCaffery said. "I mean, he was seemingly involved in every play. Defensively he was great. He was on the glass. He made shots. He played smart. He made good decisions with the ball. He was great today."

After Iowa built a 15-point, first-half lead, the Bears cut it to 10 with 4:31 to play before the intermission. Marble then hit a jumper, was fouled and canned the free throw to stem the tide. The Hawkeyes finished the half on an 11-7 run with Marble accounting for five of the points. Brown got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

It's still early in the season. Plenty of tough games remain. But through eight games, Marble is the MVP of this year's Hawkeye team.

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