Marble Brings Iowa Attention at Draft

Thursday's NBA Draft marks an important night on the life of Iowa guard Roy Devyn Marble. It also could give a program on the rise a shot in the arm.

Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery will travel to Michigan Thursday to watch the NBA Draft with star guard Roy Devyn Marble. It's a big night for Iowa Basketball.

At the forefront, McCaffery cares for Marble. He wants to see a player he's mentored for four years realize his dream. Beyond that, Marble making it in the world's best league could be a windfall for the future of the program.

Recruits choose colleges they feel give them an opportunity to play professionally. They highlight their success in developing NBA talent. Top prospects listen. There's a reason the top schools continue to be the top schools - talent.

Iowa's last draft pick was Adam Haluska in 2007. Before that, New York selected J.R. Koch in '99. A year earlier, Ricky Davis was the No. 21 overall pick, the last Hawkeye to go in the first round. Marble was six years old.

Reggie Evans is the only Iowa player on an NBA roster. He started his career as a free agent with the now-defunct Seattle SuperSonics in '02. He's been a great representative for the Hawkeye program but his career is coming to a close.

Marble is hope. Perhaps he can tip off a run that returns Iowa basketball to being a program supplying the NBA Draft with players as it did from '87-99 when 11 different Hawkeyes were tabbed in the first two rounds.

"It helps everybody," Marble said of his making the NBA. "It helps the program. It helps in a positive way.

"I came to Iowa to change the culture. It wasn't a basketball school. There wasn't a basketball mentality at all here. I think we've done a really good job of that," Marble said.

Iowa ended a seven-year NCAA Tournament drought in March. Sending a player into the NBA would serve as another sign that the Hawkeyes are trending up.

"We haven't had a pro prospect in a long time. I'm doing that. It can pave the way for other players. Whitey (Aaron White) is going to the Durant Skills Academy (Friday), which is an excellent thing for the program. You can see the culture changing and people are showing Iowa basketball the respect that we've earned. That was one of the main points of me coming to Iowa to change the culture. Coach McCaffery knew that. And he's helped me get to where I'm at today," Marble said.

As a senior, Marble became the first Hawkeye since Haluska to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. He averaged 17.0 points a game after contributing 15.0 per contest in '12-13.

Opinions are mixed on when Marble might go in Thursday's draft (7 p.m. CT, ESPN). A best-case scenario from prognosticators puts him late in the first-round but none of the people making predictions are in player personnel.

"The NBA draft is just so unpredictable," Marble said. "It's not like the NFL Draft where guys pretty much know if they're going in the first two rounds.

"In the NBA, teams are going to trade up, trade down. A team that wants you could trade into the first round. A team that wants you could trade their way out of the first round. I think I have a good chance. I just don't know what team it would be with and where."

Marble (6-6, 192) spent the last month flying around the country for team workouts. He estimated that he visited 15 NBA franchises.

"In the workouts, they just want to see you compete and play hard. They want to see that you want to win. They watch how you act with your teammates and how you work out ways to win," Marble said.

"I think that's what they look at the most because you're not going to shoot the ball well at every workout you participate in. So, I don't think they put too much into it. They watched our whole college careers so they know what we can do on the basketball court. It's more to see what you're like as a person, how you would handle a new environment, how you handle your new teammates."

The ability to consistently make open shots will be what Marble needs to show if he makes it into an NBA training camp. He'll have opportunities not being the focal point of the opposition's defensive game plan as he was at Iowa.

The Hawkeyes relied on Marble to create and make shots. He played both guard spots, which displayed his versatility, but also hurt his ability to get comfortable. His percentages suffered as he shot just 42.0 percent overall from the floor and 34.9 percent from behind the three-point arc as a senior.

Marble was pleased with his off-court interviews. He was a model citizen at Iowa and felt like teams know they can invest in him as a person.

Marble said he received good vibes from four franchises, in particular,during the pre-draft process.

"As far as the teams I feel are interested in me and ones I had good workouts with I would say San Antonio, Detroit, Atlanta and Washington. I had 4-5 really, really good workouts where I really stood out and showed what I was capable of doing," he said.

That said, Marble feels in the dark about his destination.

"(NBA teams) play it pretty close to the vest. They want to let you know that they like you and they have interest in you but they don't want to say too much in case they're revealing more than they'd like about their tactics on how they want to draft. So, it's tough to get a genuine feel for who likes you a lot. I don't know where I'm going to end up come Thursday," he said.

One of the best aspects of the pre-draft process was connecting with fellow prospects, Marble said. He formed friendships with, among others, Washington's C.J. Wilcox, UCLA's Jordan Adams and the Tennessee duo of Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes. The Volunteers knocked off Iowa in overtime during the NCAA Tournament.

"They didn't tease me too much. We agreed that whoever won that game was going to end up going far. They both said we should have won, to be honest. They know we had them," Marble said with a chuckle.

Marble has advanced a long way to put himself in this position. He wasn't heavily recruited out of high school, settling on Iowa ahead of reported offers from Dayton and Providence, where Keno Davis was coaching at the time. Marble's father, Roy Marble Sr., played for the Hawkeyes under Davis' dad, Tom Davis.

Marble, who turns 22 in September, played a secondary role to good friend and classmate, Melsahn Basabe, during their first year at Iowa. Basabe landed on the Big Ten all-Freshmen team while Marble averaged 5.7 points and started only six games.

Marble almost doubled his scoring as a sophomore. He matured physically, which also helped him be more effective on the boards and defensively. He continued improving during his final two seasons and then embarked on the draft process with belief that he belonged.

"I didn't feel like I had something to come out and prove. I just played with that kind of swagger and confidence I always have. I know I'm good. I know what my abilities are. I know what I need to work on and how I can get better. But when I come into the workout, I come in like I'm the top dog. I feel like everybody there is trying to come at me and I'm sure they feel the same way. You just have to go in there with a pit bull mentality, battle it out and see who comes out alive," he said.

Since the workouts ended, Marble has turned his attention to a business venture. He's starting an urban clothing line that launches Friday. You can locate his gear at at that time.

"I'm doing an Iowa inspired T-Shirt. I've got a bunch of other original designs. I'm into clothing and fashion. It's something that interests me outside of basketball. It's comfortable street wear. It's nice but not too much," he said.

McCaffery supported Marble at the draft combine and his pro day. Marble returned to Iowa a few weeks ago to help his coach with a camp.

Thursday, McCaffery will be with his pupil in the Detroit area. They'll watch the draft together with great anticipation on what it could add up to for Marble and the Hawkeye program.

"It means a lot," Marble said. "He's been a guy that's been in my corner this whole process and since I got to Iowa. He wants to follow the journey, too, on this last night."

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