Devyn Marble, Zach McCabe and Ben Brust all signed to play for the Hawkeyes and coach Todd Lickliter during fall 2009.
Coach Lickliter was fired in spring 2010. Ben bolted to Wisconsin while Devyn and Zach stuck with the Hawkeyes to play for new coach Fran McCaffery.
Iowa fans were thankful.
When Devyn and Zach were freshmen the Hawks finished 11-20, 8-8 at home. They were led by senior Jarryd Cole, who averaged 8.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and shot 57 percent from the floor.
Devyn played in all 31 games and started six. He averaged 19 minutes and scored 5.7 points per game.
Zach also played in 31 games and had two starts. The 6-6 forward averaged 19 minutes and scored 5.8 points per game. He shot 80 percent from the free throw line.
Their sophomore season had Matt Gatens as their leader and after four straight years with a losing record, the Hawks finished 18-17 and won a game in the NIT.
Matt started all 35 games, averaged 15.2 points, 34.6 minutes and shot 85 percent from the free throw line.
Devyn started 27 games, averaged 11.5 points, 3.6 assists and led the team in steals with 53.
Zach started 30 games, averaged 7.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and shot 45 percent from 3-point range which led the team.
Last year was a breakout year for the Hawkeyes.
They won 25 games, equaling the second most in school history. Their 18 home wins was the most ever and they played a school record 38 games.
Iowa also was the NIT runner-up, which is the best NIT finish in school history.
Devyn started strong, hit the wall with a three-game slump and then finished with a bang in the NIT. He averaged 20.6 points, 2.4 steals and four rebounds in five NIT games.
For the season Devyn averaged 15 points, led the team in assists with 112 and shot 80 percent from the free throw line.
He is the only Hawkeye to total 1,100 points, 350+ rebounds and 275+ assists as a junior.
“It was a really good season,” said Devyn, who made third team All-Big Ten. “It was productive and I think it will help us going into next year.”
Devyn is versatile enough to play the point guard or shooting guard.
“It doesn’t matter what I play,” said Devyn. “I’m learning how to be a better two guard and point guard at the same time. I don‘t label myself. I just feel I’m a combo-guard.”
Devyn mostly played shooting guard in high school but his dad Roy and Devyn’s high school coach agreed that Devyn should play at the point.
“I hated the idea,” said Devyn. “I was a little nervous because I had never played that position and never handled the ball that much but it made me a better player.”
Devyn played baseball in high school up until his sophomore year. He pitched and played shortstop.
“I’m kind of glad I quit because if I pitched at this height I would be worried about line drives straight back at me,” said Devyn.
Devyn was also a pretty good football player and Roy saw he had talent.
“I remember when he was in junior high someone drilled a line drive pass at his knee right in the end zone and he stuck his left hand down, caught it, took three steps and put the ball down like it was nothing,” recalled Roy.
Devyn was a two-time MVP in high school. He averaged 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists his senior year and was named first team all-state.
Iowa started recruiting Devyn to play basketball the summer of his junior year and he committed later on that year.
“I was looking at Detroit early on but when it came time, it was Iowa where I wanted to play,” said Devyn.
LaVall Jordan, who was on Todd Lickliter’s staff, told Devyn he could play right away.
“I liked the atmosphere, the fans and the community,” said Devyn. “I just felt like I was at home when I came on my visit.”
Devyn said his dad Roy tried to let Devyn make his own decision on picking a college to play basketball.
“He didn’t pressure me or anything,” said Devyn. “He did want me to come here.”
Roy said it was great that the Hawkeyes were recruiting Devyn.
“I was very excited during that time,” said Roy. “It started with LaVall, who’s over at Michigan now. I wanted to stay out of it but was so happy he was being recruited.”
Roy, who was living in Cedar Rapids, had Devyn come down and stay with him after the 2008 floods.
“I kind of gave him my own personal tour of Iowa City,” said Roy, who is the all-time leading scorer at Iowa. “We spent a lot of time in Cedar Rapids and he made a lot of friends that summer.”
When coach Lickliter was fired, new coach Fran McCaffery had to recruit Devyn once more.
“He visited me once or twice and after he did that I was sold,” said Devyn. “He didn’t have to do too much. I just wanted to be sure because I was making the biggest decision of my life so far.”
Roy had a good impression of coach McCaffery when they first met.
“He came back to recruit Devyn,” said Roy. “He had coffee and doughnuts at the doorsteps at five or six in the morning. So I was impressed when he got the Iowa job he went right after it.”
Devyn, Zach and Melsahn Basabe lived together the summer before their freshman year and although summer class work was hard, it was good to get started.
Devyn enjoyed playing with the three freshmen– Adam Woodbury, Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons.
“They all add different dimensions,” said Devyn. “Adam can clog up the middle and block shots. Both Anthony and Mike are good passers that can score.”
This is the first part of a two-part story on Devyn Marble and Zach McCabe.
Next week I’ll talk about what Devyn’s plans for the future are and how Zach had to decide if he wanted to play football or basketball for the Hawkeyes.