Flexibility Marble’s forte

BY KYLE MANN | JUNE 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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The NBA draft is Thursday, and for the first time in almost a decade, Hawkeye fans will almost have a reason to tune in. Devyn Marble has been training rigorously since the regular season ended in March in order to impress pro scouts enough to draft him, and the Iowa guard has a few things going for him.

Marble has been the leading scorer for the Hawkeyes in each of the past two seasons, pouring in 15 points per game in 2012-13 and 17 per game in 2013-14, good for fifth in the Big Ten. What makes Marble dangerous as a scorer, however, is his ability to score in different ways.

In his second season as lead dog, Marble’s workload increased, and his shot attempts went up. Admirably, however, so did his field-goal percentage. Going from 11 shot attempts to 13, Marble shot 42 percent from the floor and showed that he may still be developing as a young player.

With the Hawkeyes relatively short on shooters from beyond the arc, Marble likely hoisted more 3s than he or the scouts would have liked, but better shot selection will make for better shooting numbers from 3 and overall.

Albeit streaky at times, Marble’s 35 percent shooting from distance is respectable, and the consensus is that he could be a more consistent shooter in the NBA than in college, given better point guards and offensive schemes.

When he can’t get a shot to fall, Marble has the ability to penetrate to the hoop and draw fouls. He led the Big Ten in free throws attempted, and although he converted on only 71 percent of his tries, the metric can be indicative of a player’s ability to create shots.

Marble will also benefit from a couple current crazes in the NBA right now, being that teams tend to prefer players who can play numerous positions, and specifically, they love tall players who can play point guard.

Marble measured at 6-7 in shoes at the NBA combine in May, and combined with a 6-9 wingspan and 35-inch vertical, he possesses terrific size and adequate athleticism to stack up physically against NBA players.

Currently listed at 192 pounds, he’ll have to add some strength, but at his height, Marble will be able to play offensively and guard defensively either wing position, shooting guard or small forward.

Furthermore, his ball-handling ability and experience initiating offense for the Hawkeyes means that Marble will be a viable option at three positions.

Almost always under pressure as the opposition’s focal point on defense, Marble found his teammates to dish out 3.6 assists per game. More impressively, Marble was fourth in the Big Ten in assist to turnover ratio — he committed only 1.7 turnovers per game.

When it comes down to it, it’s not likely Marble will go in the first round for a number of reasons, including his statistics and because he was only the best player on a fringe NCAA Tournament team, but there is a place on a roster for a player such as the former Hawkeye.

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