Marble and White head to Colorado Springs


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Picture the Iowa basketball program three years ago.

Former Iowa hoops coach Todd Lickliter was fired after his third-consecutive losing season with the program. Carver-Hawkeye Arena looked like a ghost town. There was no face of the program, no thought of a possible postseason run, and no chance at any Hawkeye basketball player gaining any sort of recognition from around the country.

And yet, in three years’ time, all of that has changed. Significantly. Coach Fran McCaffery has brought the program back to life, with aspirations of punching an NCAA Tournament ticket next season — and with two players who have been considered among the nation’s elite.

Iowa basketball stars Aaron White and Devyn Marble were recently selected to a Team USA training camp for the World University Games. Training camp will be held today through June 30 in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the World University Games will be held July 6-17 in Kazan, Russia.

This is a huge honor for a program that was the laughingstock of the Big Ten three years ago. Make no mistake about it: Being selected to the training camp roster isn’t enough for Marble and White — they want to compete in Russia. 

“I’m definitely not going to take this opportunity for granted,” Marble said.

“It’s not just an invitation,” White said. “I’m excited to go down there, but I want to make the team and assert myself as one of the top players in the country.”

The Hawkeye stars will get a chance to prove they belong among college basketball’s elite. Five additional players from the Big Ten and Creighton’s Doug McDermott headline the 29-players list that will be in Colorado Springs with the Iowa standouts.

Perhaps the most intriguing part about their inclusion in the camp is that Marble and White may have to play outside their normal positions in order to make the roster.

Marble is listed as a small forward on coach Bob McKillop’s roster. The Hawkeye senior has the size and athletic ability to play a wing position, even though he’s more comfortable running the point with the ball in his hands.

White is slotted at center on the training camp roster. It shouldn’t be too big of an adjustment for the junior because he has had experience playing center in his first season on campus. Both players’ versatility should bolster their chances of making the 12-man roster.

“They’re versatile because Fran makes them versatile,” McKillop said. “He doesn’t limit their position to just one spot on the floor. It’s a strong quality to have because of the strong international competition. It gives us more options offensively and defensively.”

Iowa’s basketball program has steadily progressed under McCaffery. He led the program to the NIT championship game, brought two ESPN top-100 recruits to Iowa City, and signed two of Iowa’s last three Mr. Basketball award winners.

Marble and White’s invitation to a prestigious event like the World University Games auditions is another step on McCaffery’s path of returning the Hawkeye program to national prominence.

“I think it shows how far our program has come,” Marble said. “Hopefully, Whitey and I will be able to make the team and show that Iowa basketball has good players. Hopefully, we can represent the university well.”

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