- Measurables: 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, senior guard from Iowa
- Key Stats: 17.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals per game while shooting 43 percent and 37 percent from three
- Projected: Second round
Matters to No One But Me …
Marble played in one of my favorite high school games I’ve ever covered when he was a senior at Southfield Lathrup. The game itself wasn’t particularly compelling — an experienced Lathrup team that featured Marble and Bryan Coleman (who went on to play at Wayne State) pulled away from an inexperienced Beecher team that would eventually develop into a state powerhouse. Instead, the history surrounding the game was the draw. Marble’s dad, Roy Marble, was a Beecher legend in the 1980s before going on to become Iowa’s all-time leading scorer and becoming a first round pick in the NBA Draft. He got to watch his son play in his old high school gym, in front of his old coach (Moses Lacy) and with his former teammate, former NFL player and current Beecher athletic director Courtney Hawkins putting together a nice program featuring the school’s impressive basketball history.
The well-rounded game Devyn Marble has shown at Iowa was on display in the game, and he had surprising competition from a freshman named Monte Morris who went on to become Michigan’s Mr. Basketball winner and is currently one of the top freshmen in the country at Iowa State (seriously … I’ll be doing a Draft Dreams on Morris in a year or two). The game was both a nice glimpse at a bygone era when Flint, Michigan, was one of the top basketball talent producing cities in the country as well as a nice reminder that despite many critics who think those days of great city sports are over, there were two players on that court who could both be legitimate NBA players.
Fits with the Pistons because …
First and foremost, Marble’s size and position (6-foot-6 wing) make him a fit for the Pistons, who will likely lose Rodney Stuckey and possibly Chauncey Billups if he retires from an already thin perimeter. The biggest thing to like about Marble is simply his work ethic. He’s improved immensely at Iowa, and his development is a big reason Iowa has once again become a solid, tough team in an always competitive Big Ten. More impressively, he’s handled what could’ve been impossible expectations, playing where his father is the all-time leading scorer. Here’s how he handled it, from the Des Moines Register:
“I was concerned,” Joi said. “But I think he had the absolute personality to deal with that kind of pressure. He didn’t really take it on as a challenge. He decided to be himself and knew he could be successful doing just that.”
Devyn will be playing his 135th career game for the Hawkeyes on Thursday, one more than his dad did, when they face Northwestern at 8 p.m. in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Marble brings 1,662 career points into the game and needs 14 more to pass Ronnie Lester and move into Iowa’s Top 5.
The freshly-minted first-team all-Big Ten selection has stepped out of his father’s shadow with his own personality and his own game.
“I didn’t feel like I had to do the complete opposite of what he did, or anything like that,” Marble said. “I’m a different person.”
Marble’s become a decent three-point shooter (27 percent as a freshman to 37 percent as a senior), he’s a good passer, he handles the ball well and he’s solid defensively, with long arms that allow him to bother other guards even when he’s beaten off the dribble. As the obvious top option for Iowa and a focus of opposing defenses, Marble has remained very productive and was in the conversation with Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris as the top wings in the Big Ten this season.
Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …
There’s an argument (not necessarily one that I buy, but an argument nonetheless) that teams shy away from four-year college players because there’s not as much potential for improvement as underclassmen who enter the draft, so that could be the reason Marble is slotted as a second rounder by most respected draft outlets. Marble is also one of those versatile players who gets the “solid at a lot of things, not off the charts good at any one thing” label, which probably hurts his stock.
As far as weaknesses in his game, he’s a good shooter but also a player who has had to work at it — he didn’t have a great shot when he arrived at Iowa, relying on his size and athleticism to dominate at the high school level. He’s a decent athlete, but not quite as explosive as some of the wings projected in the top of the first round, which could make it hard for him to defend faster NBA guards. Other than that, he has prototypical size for a NBA wing, he’s shown that he works hard at his game and there’s no denying his production as a senior. All of those things could make him a sleeper if he stays slotted in that mid-second round territory.
From the Experts
- Versatile wing
- Can score from anywhere on the floor
- Good defender
- Great motor
- Just a so-so athlete
- Doesn’t do any one thing at an elite level
It’s worth pointing out that while Marble is likely not a point guard at this or the next level, he was thesecond best passing wingin our database last season, averaging 4.8 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted and his 2.07 assist/turnover ratiostacks up well even amongst point guard prospects. For a wing, he has an excellent basketball IQ, exemplified in his court vision and excellent instincts with the ball in his hands. He makes the right pass without hesitation, makes crisp entry passes, and can even run the pick-and-roll at times. He is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate, which will only make him a more attractive prospect if he improves as a scorer.