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Q&A: Catching up with Devyn Marble

BY JACOB SHEYKO | APRIL 29, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Daily Iowan recently spoke with Devyn Marble over the phone. He just wrapped up his rookie season with the Orlando Magic. Marble split playing between the Magic and Orlando’s Developmental League team, the Erie BayHawks.

His season ended about six weeks short due to a detached retina in his left eye for which he underwent surgery.

The Daily Iowan: How’s the eye feeling [Marble missed the final six weeks of the season]?

Marble: It’s getting better, kind of getting the sight back. I’m back lifting and conditioning now, so that’s good.

DI: How’s Orlando treating you?

Marble: It kind of reminds me of Iowa City, to be honest. We just added the soccer team, but we’re one of the only pro sports here so everybody in Orlando loves the Magic. We don’t have a football team, like I said, we just added the soccer team this year so the fans here really support us whether we’re winning or losing. It’s kind of like how the Hawkeye fans are. There are similarities so I feel at home. I love it down here.

DI: I know it’s hard to answer this succinctly, but how do you look back on your rookie season?

Marble: It was definitely up and down. We had some good times and some bad times, like every other season. I think it was more of a learning experience for me. I really had to get used to not playing as much and playing in a different type of environment and stuff like that. It was a challenge, but me being a four-year player in college kind of helped with that.

When I came into Iowa, we weren’t exactly the best team, and each year we had to find ways to get better and grow as a unit. It was almost a similar situation here in Orlando. For me, [I’m] just being thankful and understand that it’s going to take time to progress.

DI: What were some of the biggest adjustments, either offensively or defensively?

Marble: For me, offense was the most challenging. They’re just better athletes [in the NBA], better players, and stronger, more physical, stuff like that. Also, getting used to the 24-second shot clock. The game is a lot faster. Just knowing what you need to work on so when you do go in the game, knowing where your shots are coming from.

I think from that standpoint, I was able to translate more easily defensively. When I was playing, I did a solid job on defense. I know the coaching staff and the people in Orlando were really happy with how I was defensively when I was playing, which is one of the reasons I was playing.

DI: You were mostly known as an offensive player in college, so did your defensive impact surprise you?

Marble: I knew I was always a good defender. And I knew going into the draft process and once I got to a team that — at least my rookie year — my calling card was going to be defense.

I wouldn’t say I was surprised, but I think a lot of people know that I can score the ball. They know it’s there; it’s just something that has to be refined and re-worked with me playing at a different level.

DI: You were playing off the ball more on offense too, was that part of it?

Marble: I think that’s true. It’s different, but I think I’ll be able to do it once I continue playing. I think it was a little different to not have the ball and coach isn’t calling plays for you. You have to get your offense through the flow of the offense. I didn’t have a problem with that, but from that standpoint it is a lot different.

DI: Your defense also seemed to allow you to stay on the floor, even if you struggled offensively.

Marble: Yeah, when I was playing, I would end up guarding whoever the best perimeter player was. So if my coach would tell me before I went in, “Don’t worry about the offense, I just want you to go play defense,” that’s what I would do.

DI: Was your father able to provide any advice or tips in making the jump from college to pro ball?

Marble: Just go out there and show people you can play. He really just lets me do my own thing when it comes to basketball. He doesn’t really add any more stress or try to add any pressure or anything like that. He just wants to enjoy it from a father standpoint. He lets me go out there and do what I got to do.

DI: How is your father doing?

Marble: He’s doing okay. The treatment and stuff, he gets fatigued every now and then. We knew that was going to happen, that that would be a side effect. But he’s hanging in there.

DI: Were there any veterans or other players that helped with the transition?

Marble: I would say all the veterans, to be honest, in their own rightful way and however they could help. Between Willie [Green], Luke [Ridnour], Channing [Frye], and Ben [Gordon], they were very helpful. They knew that we were a young group this year and they wanted to help mentally and serve as mentors as best as they could so we could further maturate as a team.

DI: You mentioned how you guys were such a young team, is that a good thing for you in that a lot of you guys are going the same process together?

Marble: I think so. It also gives us that ability to grow with one another from season to season, so I think that in the long run, as we continue to get better, it will help.

DI: You did get an opportunity to start seven games. What was that first professional start like?

Marble: It was really at the last second, so I really didn’t have much time to think about it. It was about an hour before the game before Coach [Jacque Vaughn] told me I was going to start. He just told me what he wanted me to do, to just go in there and play hard and do what you do defensively, and I was able to do that.

It meant a lot to me, especially as a rookie. For a rookie to be able to accomplish that and get some time to play major minutes, to see what it was like, and see where I can grow as a player was really helpful.

DI: One of the things you — and Fran McCaffery’s Iowa teams in general — are known for is versatility, specifically, the ability to play multiple positions offensively. How did that play a factor in Orlando?

Marble: It helped me out a lot, especially all throughout the draft process. A lot of the teams liked me a lot because I could do so many different things. I can fill a lot of positional needs, or whatever it is that team needs.

I think Fran kind of molds us into doing more than one thing. While we’re on the floor, we’re not just a shooting guard, we’re not just a power forward, but we do multiple things. I think once you get up to this level it makes the game a lot easier for you.

It also gives you an opportunity to play more minutes because you can do more than one thing.

DI: How were you able to handle bouncing back and forth between Erie and Orlando throughout the season?

Marble: It’s not the easiest, but for me, I kind of had fun doing that because I was able to play throughout the season even though I wasn’t just with the Magic. I was able to still play and get minutes.

To me it’s all about having fun and playing basketball. I was able to do that going to Erie. I was able to go in there with a positive mindset of getting better. I was still playing against other NBA players and prospects, so the competition was still there.

DI: What was it like adjusting to the “NBA lifestyle” in terms of how basketball really is your job now?

Marble: It is your life. The one thing I like about it is I don’t have get up and go to class anymore. For me, it was like a match made in heaven. It’s a lot more work, but I love the game and I’m getting paid to do it. I think I’ve got the best job in America, to be honest, unless I was the owner, then I’d really have the best job.

DI: Maybe in the future?

Marble: Yeah, hopefully.

DI: What’s your offseason look like from here on out?

Marble: I’ll be in Orlando for most of the summer. Getting stronger, getting better going into the Summer League, cause I’m still going to be there. Really just taking it one day at a time, trying to get better. Then, going into Summer League and doing what I got to do, performing to the best of my ability and just take it from there.

DI: Thanks for the taking the time to talk.

Marble: Yeah, thank you.


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