YESTERDAY. The Big Ten Network's Brent Yarina published his weekly Big Ten Player of the Year tracker on the BTN blog. He has a Hawkeye at the top. Roy Devyn Marble has been on the short list on Yarina's blog but this is the first time he's been declared the leader. He moves to the top of the list after his 26 point performance Saturday versus Michigan. Marble isn't the league's highest scorer, nor rebounder, but he's his team's most important player and his team's in contention for the league title.
LET'S LOOK AT THE STATS.
NOW THE CONFERENCE STATS.
THE SCORING IS UP IN CONFERENCE PLAY. The extra minutes on the floor help contribute to that. Yarina lists Yogi Ferrell, Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris and Terran Petteway as other potential candidates for the B1G POTY Award. Each averages more points per game than Marble and over 17 ppg each. Still, Marble's 196 points in conference play is the most and his 17.8 points per game ranks second. He ranks second in the league in free throws attempted and first in free throws made. He also ranks fifth in league play in steals and steals per game. And finally, according to StatSheet, he's third in the league in plus/minus and fifth in +/- average (10.7). (He's ranked #1 in the league in +/- in games Iowa wins.)
WHO ARE SOME CONTENDERS? Indiana's Ferrell is the league's leading scorer in conference play at 18.7 points per game. He's also averaging 3.7 assists per game but his team is (4-6) in conference play and on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Terran Petteway is right there with Marble in scoring per game (17.8). He's probably in the same situation as Ferrell. Nebraska is exceeding expectations with a (4-6) league record but they aren't in contention.
Nik Stauskas was your outright leader for the POTY Award two weeks ago. Michigan's tough stretch of schedule and his cold shooting has dropped him down the list. He's finished with six, nine and ten points in Michigan's last three games shooting 5-15 from the field.
Gary Harris also recently had a tough shooting day. He finished 3-20 for six points in Michigan State's loss at Wisconsin. Iowa limited Harris to nine points in the match-up at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. That broke a streak of three consecutive 20+ point games for Harris.
Harris and Stauskas are Marble's biggest competition. Harris will benefit from the return of Adreian Payne in the lineup. MSU and Michigan have one more meeting and that game could be for the regular season conference title. If either Stauskas or Harris star in that game, they win the award. Of course, Marble could win it too with an outstanding performance March 6th at Michigan State.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN EVER? The Big Ten Basketball Player of the Year Award was created after the 1984-85 season. Since that time, Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State are the only teams that have not had a player named B1G POTY. Andre Woolridge should have won in 1997 but he was robbed.
Speaking of Woolridge, he's Iowa's last basketball player named an all-American (1997). Woolridge was selected third team. The last Hawkeye to earn first team all-American honors was Ronnie Lester in 1980. Lester was a two-time all-American, earning the honor in back-to-back seasons. Iowa Basketball has had 24 total all-American selections by 17 players. Of those, 11 were first team.
Iowa's had Big Ten MVPs. Before the official conference award began in 1985, the Chicago Tribune would name an MVP, much like they have the Silver Football Award. Iowa's Sam Williams won the award in 1968. Just two other Hawkeyes were named MVP: Charles Darling won it in 1952 and Murray Weir in 1948. Being recognized as the Big Ten's best would put Marble in company with Hawkeye elite. Not bad for a kid that wasn't a preseason first team all-Big Ten selection.