Hawks appear deep, talented


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How do you replace Devyn Marble? That’s the question facing the Iowa men’s basketball team heading into the 2014-15 season.

How do you replace a player who averaged 17 points per game? A first team All-Big selection, someone who when the team needed a bucket, could be counted on getting the ball the next possession; and someone who — for the most part — was the identity of a team that reinvigorated basketball fandom in Iowa City.

The better question is, can you replace Marble?

Iowa believes the answer is yes. Not just with one player, but a committee of them. However, at the center of that committee, and the spotlight, is Aaron White.

“There’s always one player that sort of becomes the identity of the team,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said at the team’s media day. “For me, you’ve heard me say this a lot, it was Jarryd Cole’s team, it was Matt Gatens’ team, it was Roy Devyn Marble’s team, and now it’s Aaron White’s team.”

The 6-9 Strongsville, Ohio, native averaged 12.8 points per game last season. He was the only player in the country to shoot better than 55 percent from the field (58.4) and better than 80-percent from the free-throw line (80.7).

After spending the summer at both LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s Skills Academies, White will be looked upon as the leader of this team, an aspect that hasn’t always reared its head in past years.

“It’s was just a little bit harder, to be honest; clearly ‘Dev was the guy,” White said. “I didn’t want to step on any of the seniors’ shoes. And that’s not making an excuse by any means, but it’s just a different situation. Now, it’s my last year, I feel like there’s nothing holding me back.”

With that being said, White is far from alone in Iowa’s quest to replace Marble. Just as Marble was surrounded by a plethora of talent last season, so, too, will White.

“When it comes to Dev, obviously no one’s going to come in here and average 15 or more points per game,” Iowa forward Gabe Olaseni said. “And if they do, that’s definitely great for us. I think it’s going to be offense by committee.

“It’s not just going to be one person or two people. It’s going to be the whole team.”

White returns to one of the most experienced frontcourts in the Big Ten. And it brings a lot more than experience; excluding Wisconsin, it may be the most talented frontcourt in the conference.

Alongside White and Olaseni, Adam Woodbury and Jarrod Uthoff return for the Hawkeyes. The four of them combined for 32.6 points and 20.1 rebounds per game last season.

“I do because I have confidence in our team,” Uthoff said when asked if he thought Iowa’s frontcourt could be among the best in the Big Ten. “I think you’ll see that throughout the season.”

With that being said, McCaffery also said to expect more from everyone, not just the frontcourt. In all, Iowa returns eight players who saw significant playing time from last year’s squad, including three players who started 30 or more games — White, Woodbury, and Mike Gesell.

Iowa added to its depth it established last year as well. Guard Trey Dickerson — a junior college transfer from Williston State College in North Dakota — joins the team for his sophomore season of eligibility. Dickerson was a third-team All American there.

The Hawkeyes also add Dom Uhl, a freshman from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. Uhl — whom McCaffery spoke highly of — is originally from Frankfurt, Germany.

In all, McCaffery said he expects Iowa to go as deep down the bench as it did last year. Not just because the Hawkeyes believe they have the talent to do so, but also because he sees it as a necessity.

“As you know, it’s a marathon, especially in this league, especially with our nonconference schedule,” McCaffery said. “So I think you need that number of bodies. You need to have that many guys ready to play.”

Follow @JacobSheyko on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis of the Iowa basketball team.

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