IOWA CITY — Devyn Marble has surprised many people with his play during the non-conference portion of Iowa’s schedule.
In 13 games, including five starts, the Iowa sophomore point guard has scored 10.9 points a game — second on the team. But it’s how he’s handled the ball as an on-court that’s made a difference for Iowa.
Marble has 48 assists and only 12 turnovers this year. Only once — when he wasn’t starting — did Marble have three turnovers in a game. In Thursday’s 81-72 win against Boise State, Marble posted perhaps his most impressive statistic line with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks, three steals and only one turnover in 31 minutes.
Marble is 6-foot-6 and has a lethal mid-range jumper, which Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery acknowledges is difficult to stop.
“Who is going to block that? He’s 6-6 and long,” McCaffery said. ”If he drives you back and raises up, he’s going to get that shot off, and he’s making it. I think you can see in his face he’s very comfortable shooting it.”
Marble scored back-to-back baskets late in the second half to keep Iowa ahead by eight points. The second was a pull-up jumper with 3:13 left.
“That was a big shot right in front of our bench,” McCaffery said. “He raised up and knew that sucker was in. That’s how you want your guys playing.”
Marble has engineered victories for Iowa (8-5) in the last three games. In his five starts Marble has averaged 16.4 points, 5.0 assists and only 1.6 turnovers a game.
But Marble’s tasks double in difficulty starting next week. The Hawkeyes open Big Ten play against Purdue, which boasts talented senior point guard Lewis Jackson. Iowa follows with a game at Wisconsin and preseason All-American point guard Jordan Taylor.
Marble is unfazed with competing against Jackson and Taylor.
“The competition goes up three levels, so I’m going to go up three levels,” Marble said. “I’m not worried who I’m playing against. I’m going to come out with the same mindset. I prepare myself the same for every game; I don’t care who’s in front of me. It could be Jordan Taylor or Lewis Jackson — both great players — but I’m not going to play different just because I’m playing against those guys. I want to make them play my game.
“It’s always fun to play against guys like that and I respect them, but at the same time, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”