Bio: Senior, 6'6, 200 (Southfield, MI)
2012-13 stats: 30.5 minutes per game, 15.0 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, 3.0 assists per game
What we saw last season
It was a tale of two, maybe three, seasons for RDM. At first, it looked like Marble was handling his move away from the point well: He scored in double digits in Iowa's first nine games, and the slight reduction in production -- Marble was averaging just 14 points in those games, only nominally better than the 11.5 he averaged as a sophomore -- was chalked up to the position change and the improved players around him.
Act two began with a 1/14 shooting performance in the Big Ten opener against Indiana. Marble played reduced minutes in a blowout loss at Michigan, then sat out the Michigan State game entirely due to injury. For the next month, he was a ghost. In the Hawkeyes' first ten conference games, Marble averaged 7.9 points per game. He shot 2/11 in back-to-back games against Ohio State and Purdue, and followed it with a 3/10 performance against Penn State. He went scoreless in just 18 minutes against Minnesota. He was very publicly benched in an overtime loss at Wisconsin. We were left to wonder what had gone wrong.
And then, just as quickly as it was gone, Marble's talent returned. Over the course of seven Big Ten games in February, Marble posted 17.8 points and 2.9 assists per game. Not surprisingly, Iowa went 5-2 during those games and nearly got into the Big Dance. Michigan State shut him down in the Big Ten quarterfinals, resigning the Hawkeyes to their NIT fate.
It was when Fran McCaffery moved Marble back to the point during the NIT run that RDM's play really took off. He posted more than 24 points per game in Iowa's four NIT wins, including a 21 point, 9 rebound performance against Maryland in the semifinals. He disappeared in the final against Baylor, but so did everyone else. In all, it was a rollercoaster
What we need to see this season
Marble's tendency to disappear in big games is a particular concern for a team that needs big wins to justify an NCAA tournament spot. He averaged just 11 points per game against teams that eventually made the NCAA tournament last year. He scored just six points against Baylor in the NIT final. He finished with six at Iowa State, and his eight-point, four-turnover line against Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament certainly didn't help.
The key to Marble's game: Getting to the free throw line. In games where he attempted seven or more free throws, Marble scored 19.7 points per game. Every aspect of Marble's game improves when he gets to the rim and, in turn, gets to the line. This is why the move to the wing didn't quite work: Marble's not a great shooter, and he needs the ball in his hands to score and create. The move back to the point (McCaffery has said Marble will play point guard all season; the lesson has been learned) should help.
Marble extends his NIT form to the regular season, finds a cure for his big-game woes, and posts the sort of season that we expected last season. Something like 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game. He leads Iowa to the NCAA Tournament, has That Game in the first or second round, and sneaks into the first round of the NBA Draft in June. That's not a bad way to close a collegiate career.
Most likely scenario
Marble puts up 18 points per game, mysteriously disappearing at times but not with the frequency of last season's occasional Houdini acts. He is a facilitator, yes, but the offense occasionally devolves into the Roy Devyn Marble Show, with four players around the perimeter watching RDM hoist jumpers. Marble has a slight uptick in overall production, he makes second team all-conference, and he spends the summer in NBA development with the hopes of catching on somewhere. His game is probably better suited for the pros, as it is.
Make us love you. We all really want to. We just need to see something that confirms our suspicions that you are the most talented player to wear an Iowa uniform in a decade. We need the game that we'll refer to as The Marble Game for the next 20 years. You have that in you. You can do it.