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IOWA CITY — Former Iowa basketball player Devyn Marble boldly proclaimed he was the Big Ten’s best guard at the NBA Scouting Combine last month in Chicago. Wednesday, in front of reporters after a workout in Milwaukee, Marble doubled down on his boast.
“A lot of teams have asked me about that same statement,” Marble told reporters. “I can be confident and just be talking. I really think I was the best guard, and I think a lot of people think that. I know (Michigan guard Nik) Stauskas got Big Ten player of the year. Congratulations to him. But we know who the best guard was in the Big Ten. I had one game where I struggled, one or two games, but even then nobody had an answer for me come Big Ten season. Everybody knows that.”
In league play, Marble finished second in scoring and was first Big Ten player to finish his career with more than 1,650 points, 450 rebounds, 375 assists and 175 steals in the last 25 years. Marble, 21, was named first-team all-Big Ten in March along with Stauskas and Michigan State guard Gary Harris. All three players expect to get drafted in three weeks.
Marble’s brash comment didn’t bother NBA scouts. In fact, his personality has drawn in team executives.
“Every year we talk about players that have great interviews that we were really impressed with,” said Bill McKinney, Milwaukee Bucks director of scouting. “Devyn was one of the most impressive young men that we’ve had in, and we’ve had a chance to interview while we were in Chicago.
“(Marble has a) great personality. Character is good. Being a good teammate is also a good thing. Players that like to win, being competitive. It was a very competitive workout (Wednesday), Jordan McRae from Tennessee matched up a lot with Devyn and those players really went at each other. They’ve got a history. They matched up in the tournament and there was some history there in terms of how they were approaching the workout.”
Marble, who stands 6-foot-6, has spent the spring on a whirlwind tour of visits and workouts. He attended the NBA Scouting Combine in Chicago and a pro day for himself and other Wasserman Media Group players in California. He’s had workouts in San Antonio, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago and Milwaukee and has around 10 more planned. In fact, he’s had to turn down NBA visits because his schedule is booked solid.
“It ain’t easy, I tell you that,” Marble said. “This is definitely not in the manual when you want to become an NBA player. They tell you nothing about this.
“I performed really well in Detroit and San Antonio and those are two teams that have shown a lot of interest in me throughout the season and throughout this process. It was great. I was able to show them even more what I was able to do and really impress them even more. Those were the two workouts that stand out in my mind, but I haven’t had a bad workout, either.”
McKinney said Marble’s play earlier this season prompted a conversation between himself and his old NBA rookie camp roommate, Iowa assistant coach Sherman Dillard.
“(Marble) was a guy that wasn’t on that radar that much earlier during the season,” McKinney said. “I asked Sherman, ‘How come this guy isn’t getting any publicity? He wasn’t on a lot of the scouting charts.’ A really talented player, a multi-positional player can play some two and the three. Since that time, there were a lot of scouts at the Bahamas at the time, and he started to make people take notice.”
Former Iowa guard and family friend B.J. Armstrong primarily represents Marble from the Wasserman Group. Marble trains with Marcus Smart, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid in California when he’s not taking visits.
Marble said he’s received good feedback from NBA personnel. He’s refining his skills now and will adapt his game to the team that chooses him in the June 26 draft. Marble shot 35 percent from 3-point range last year, something that McKinney said he needs to improve. But Marble said he’s made strides this off-season and touted his versatility.
“I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made, and I think a lot of people will be surprised on draft night,” Marble said.
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