Point/Counterpoint: Who should have won Daily Iowan Male Athlete of the Year?

BY DI STAFF | MAY 12, 2014 5:00 AM

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James Morris

Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former President Jimmy Carter, once said, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.”

Iowa linebacker James Morris is that kind of leader.

A year after arguably the worst season in the Kirk Ferentz era, Morris led a defensive renaissance that saw Iowa reverse its fortunes and restore order to a program that could have gone south in a hurry.

But the senior captain’s 99 tackles, 6 sacks, and 4 interceptions aren’t the only reasons Morris should win our Male Athlete of the Year award. His success off the field is unlike any other Hawkeye who has come through Ferentz’s program: Capital One first-team Academic All-American,  Academic All-Big Ten honors for the third-straight year, team captain, Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat” Award winner, the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner, and CoSIDA/Capital One District VI Academic All-America team for the second-straight year.

Oh, I forgot to mention Morris was one of 16 players in the nation to receive the National Football Foundation’s National Scholar-Athlete Award.

Morris is most definitely Iowa’s Male Athlete of the Year. He epitomizes everything that’s right about the student-athlete. Not that Tony Ramos and Devyn Marble don’t. But Morris is the blueprint.

Undersized, yet the biggest impact player on the field. Soft-spoken to the media but a player whose attitude spoke volumes on the field. The heart and soul of the most team-oriented sport on campus.
Give me Morris. It’s the easy (right) choice.

— Joshua Bolander

Devyn Marble

When Iowa senior guard Devyn Marble was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection, he solidified himself as the best male athlete on the Iowa campus.

Marble is the first Hawkeye to be named one of the five best basketball players in the Big Ten since Reggie Evans was given the nod in 2001 and 2002. Marble was the only player in the conference to score double digits in each Big Ten game, which is an amazing stat in itself.

The senior carried Iowa the whole season, and the squad wouldn’t have enjoyed the remote success it had this season if it weren’t for his efforts. One couldn’t help but reminisce of the days of Roy Marble Sr. — Devyn’s father and Iowa’s all-time leading scorer — when the younger hit the hardwood for the Black and Gold.

While Marble didn’t win the national championship, as did Tony Ramos, I argue his feat is more impressive. It’s seldom when Iowa doesn’t have at least one wrestler contend for a national championship year in and year out. Having a basketball player earn all-conference honors — and lead a team to the NCAA Tournament — is a much rarer occurrence.

Iowa will have wrestlers reach the pinnacle of college grappling for years to come. The program is synonymous with tremendous success. Who knows when the next time a basketball player will be named to the top five in just the conference?

— Ben Ross

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