New hoopster Archie a nontraditional athlete

BY J.T. BUGOS | JULY 30, 2009 7:11 AM

Iowa’s Devon Archie breaks the mold.

Tons of kids across the country play numerous sports. Whether for fun or for a future, in pick-up contests or competitive leagues, they will eventually drop the sports they don’t enjoy and specialize in the others. By the time high school arrives, most have narrowed themselves to one or two sports.

Not Archie.

He didn’t play organized basketball until his junior year of high school. He played ball as a kid at the playground but never took it seriously.

He tried out for his school team in seventh and eighth grade, but got cut and decided to forget basketball. He switched to football his freshman year but decided that wasn’t for him. He planned on being another regular student.

Then, before his junior year, his 6-0 frame shot up to 6-6, and he decided to give basketball another go. Coaches started working with him, and he made the team. From then on, it has been basketball every day.

Archie attended Vincennes Community College after high school. His last year there, as a sophomore, he averaged almost seven points, six rebounds, and more than one blocked shot per game. Vincennes went 50-15 during his time there.

This will be his first year at Iowa, and he’s both excited and nervous about competing in Division I for the first time.

“It’s going to be a different experience,” the Hawkeye junior said. “But at the same time, I’ve got to go out there and play my hardest and play a good game.”

Archie has gone from not making his middle school team to playing on a national stage in the Big Ten.

“It’s a big jump, and it’s an accomplishment,” he said. “Hard work over the last four years helped me get here.”

That hard work must continue for the 6-9 forward to be successful, and he’s ready to improve.

“I need to work on my shot and my dribble — those are key for me to be successful in the future,” he said. “I need to keep developing and get stronger.”

Iowa captain Jarryd Cole got a good first look at Archie this summer playing with him in the Prime Time League. He believes Archie is eventually capable of owning the paint, but for now, needs to work on his big man tendencies.

“He needs a go-to move — it’s very important you have that in the Big Ten,” Cole said. “And also to have a counter to that in case they take it away. As soon as he gets both of those, I think he’ll be fine.”

Both Hawkeyes agree Archie’s strengths lie in his athleticism.

“He jumps out of the gym,” Cole said. “He runs the court really well, knows where to be at all times, and crashes the boards.”

This upcoming season, Archie will need to be a big source of energy off the bench for the Hawkeyes.

“I anticipate there being a lot of dunks,” Cole said. “And when he does, we’re going to have to feed off of it as a team and use it as energy.”

Archie plans on being much more than an energy guy two years from now. He’s going to keep working and gaining confidence, and he ultimately hopes to get a shot at the NBA.

“I think I’ve got a lot of potential,” he said. “I just have to put in the work.”

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