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Point/counterpoint: Who should be named Prime Time MVP?

BY DI STAFF | JULY 19, 2011 7:20 AM

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Roy Devyn Marble

Roy Devyn Marble became the most dangerous man with a basketball in North Liberty this summer. Nobody in the Prime Time League could defend him, and that's why he deserves to be the MVP.

The Iowa guard averaged 27 points a game while shooting 54 percent from the field, showing growth from a freshman season in which he scored 5.7 points per game and only shot 38 percent for the Hawkeyes.

What makes his breakout summer more impressive is that Prime Time coaches didn't seem to expect it. Marble was taken 10th in the league draft, behind seven of his Hawkeye teammates.

He has had the best all-around summer of any Prime Time player. Marble is highly skilled on offense and has been able to score at will. He can take it to the hole when he wants, hit mid-range jumpers, and knock down 3-pointers.

He spent most of his summer working on his defense, though, and turned into an intense defender who harassed ball handlers and contested shots. During one game, Marble finished a fast-break with a two-handed slam. Instead of jogging back up court, he stole the inbounds pass and scored again. Later in that same game, he made a steal with only a minute left and his team down by 3 points to give his squad a chance for the win.

His team finished the season with a mediocre 3-4 record, but looked to be a dangerous opponent in the playoffs until Marble got hurt in the regular-season finale. Despite injuring his ankle, Marble finished the game and helped lead his team to a 2-point victory.

He was unable to play in the playoffs, though, and watched from the sideline as his team lost in the first round, 93-91. Teammates Devon Archie and Anthony Lee both said the squad would have won if Marble had been on the floor.

He was a leader during the game, yelling directions to his teammates while he watched — although his frustration at not being able to play was visible, and at one point, he threw down his hat.

He became a stud on the offensive end, showed the ability to be a tough defender, and asserted himself as a leader. There is no better choice for the Prime Time League MVP than Marble.

— by Kyle Hughes

Ali Farokhmanesh

Ali Farokhmanesh had a stellar Prime Time season. The 6-0 guard, who graduated from Northern Iowa in 2010, averaged 23.1 points per game in addition to 7 assists and 5 rebounds per game.

Although these numbers didn't necessarily lead to wins for his squad — which finished the regular season 3-4 — the Tiny Titan was a force to be reckoned with on the court. His strong guard play was nearly impossible to defend.

Farokhmanesh was unstoppable in his team's upset victory over Anthony Hubbard's previously undefeated squad on July 10, scoring at will en route to a season-high 32 points on 12-of-25 shooting. Hubbard and Company had absolutely no answer for Farokhmanesh.

Some will say Farokhmanesh had help from Hawkeye forward Zach McCabe and fellow guard Eric Washpun, and this is true. Still, the team would not have gotten anywhere with out the diminutive guard, who led Jill Armstrong of Lepic-Kroeger in scoring in six of the team's regular-season games.

In Sunday's opening-round playoff victory, Farokhmanesh only managed 15 points, but his free-throw shooting proved to be crucial. He hit all five of his freebies in a tightly contested 93-91 decision over Monica's/Pelling.

This wasn't the first time Farokhmanesh proved to be clutch in postseason play, either. As most Midwestern sports fans probably recall, he was the key in the Panther's run in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. He scored the game-winning basket over UNLV, and he famously hit the 3-point dagger against Kansas that led UNI to one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history.

But unlike 16 months ago, it's no long "Ali for Three."

Now, the rally call is Ali for MVP.

— by Cody Gredell

Anthony Hubbard

While we still do not know if Anthony Hubbard will continue to play in Prime Time after announcing his plans to transfer from Iowa last week, there is no question who has been the MVP of this summer's league.

Hubbard has the honor locked up.

There's a reason his Prime Time games were the only games that drew standing-room only crowds at the North Liberty Community Center.

While the former Hawkeye will likely be viewed in a negative light if — or when — he steps inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena by the same fans who flocked to catch a glimpse of him in North Liberty, his play on the court this summer speaks for itself.

Given the skills he displayed, Hubbard would have easily been one of the most talented Hawkeyes on the Iowa roster, and he would have had a chance to lead the team to a glory it hasn't seen in years.

The Woodbridge, Va., native averaged a double-double during the seven-game regular season. Hubbard routinely drove to the hoop with ease, scoring 23.7 points per game.

Generously listed at 6-5, the forward was also a force on the boards — he totaled 80 rebounds.

The ex-Iowa recruit had his best game of the summer when his team was short-handed on June 26.

Without the services of Northern Iowa guard Anthony James — the team's second-leading scorer at just over 20 points per game — Hubbard was one assist shy of a triple-double in a 104-92 victory.

He poured in 26 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and had 9 assists against Eric May and Josh Oglesby, both of whom are stout defenders.

Hubbard also did something no other candidate can say he accomplished — the Virginian led his team to the No. 1 seed in the Prime Time playoffs after going a league-best 5-2 during the regular season.

After winning the first five games of the summer, Hubbard's team was a missed 3-pointer away from a 6-1 record.

And now, Hawkeye fans will have to deal with missing a MVP-caliber talent.

— by Ben Schuff


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