Marble at the Point, Permanently
By Scott Dochterman and Josh Christensen, Reporters
IOWA CITY — Devyn Marble’s versatility has enabled him to play multiple guard positions in his Iowa career.
Marble, a senior, spent part of his sophomore year at point guard while spelling an injured Bryce Cartwright before moving to the wing. Last year, Marble started at off-guard for seven games, moved to small forward for 12 games, then shifted back to off-guard for seven starts before moving to the point for the final 11 games.
Marble solidly directed the offense in those final 11 games. Iowa was 8-3 (losses at Indiana, vs. Michigan State and Baylor) and Marble averaged 17.7 points and nearly four assists a game over that span. That’s nearly three points and an assist over his final average.
“I would say I expect him to be our point guard,” Coach Fran McCaffery said. “If he’s our starting point guard, I want him to play like a point guard. I want him to think like a point guard, and to me that means you engineer victory, at home, on the road, late game. Every game is different. Some are faster, some are slower, and you’re going to see changing defenses. Sometimes you’ll see one defense. He’s been through so much, I think he’s at a point in his career where he completely understands what’s necessary at that position.”
Marble stands 6-foot-7 and admits he’s built more like a natural wing player. Along with scoring, Marble is an unselfish distributor and can break down a defense off a dribble.
“I think it gives the best opportunity to win, game in and game out,” Marble said. “I played my best basketball there. But I still feel like I can be just as efficient at the two. But if they feel like me playing the point is the best thing for the team at this point in time, that’s fine with me.
“I’ll still be off the ball even when I’m on the ball with the way the motion offense works. I’m able to showcase all my versatility and skill set so I don’t’ think it hinders me as much as people may think.”
Marble still will play off the ball on certain situations. Sophomore Anthony Clemmons started at the point for 12 games and Mike Gesell started at point guard 14 times last year. Both will play there this year to either spell Marble or put him in better scoring opportunities.
“(Marble) is a guy that clearly is a better player when he has the ball as opposed to waiting for it coming off screens,” McCaffery said. “But again, sometimes you say, well, he always has the ball on top and he’s always in the same place, and that makes it easier for teams to scheme defensively against him. So I think while he is going to be our starting point guard, I’m going to move him around, I’m going to get him the ball in different situations where he can be more creative.
“He’s always played well from the wing, he’s always played well on the baseline, which is not typically where you have your point guard. But your point guard is usually not 6-7, either, so we will take advantage of his entire skill set.”
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