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CORALVILLE — Nearly a month from Iowa’s NCAA tournament loss to Tennessee, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery looks back with fondness at his team’s accomplishment.
Iowa finished the season 20-13 and were ranked for 16 consecutive weeks. The Hawkeyes reached their first NCAA tournament in eight years. But a 1-7 finish stained the season for many fans, but McCaffery doesn’t share that view.
“I’m just very pleased with the progress that we made,” McCaffery said Tuesday. “We’ve come a long way in a short period of time. I’m thrilled for the senior class in particular. They got us back in the NCAA tournament, which is something that we’ve been striving for, for a couple of years.”
Iowa handed out its annual awards Tuesday night. Senior Devyn Marble picked up the vaunted Chris Street Award, which is presented annually to a Hawkeye player, or players, who best exemplify Street’s spirit, enthusiasm and intensity.
Marble finished his career as the first Big Ten player in 26 years to post more than 1,650 points, 375 assists, 450 rebounds and 175 steals. He finished top 10 in nine different Iowa categories, ranking fifth in scoring, second in field-goal attempts, seventh in steals and sixth in assists. He was Iowa’s first men’s basketball player to earn first-team all-Big Ten honors since 2007.
Marble was 11 points shy of tying B.J. Armstrong for fourth in scoring. Coincidentally, Armstrong officially became Marble’s agent on Tuesday. Marble is preparing for the NBA draft while working toward graduating next month.
“I’m traveling from here to L.A. until school’s over,” Marble said. “Then when school’s over, I’ll move out to L.A. permanently.”
As the team looks back one final time at last season, it also turns the page to the upcoming campaign. Iowa will sign junior-college guard Trey Dickerson on Wednesday, but McCaffery can’t talk about Dickerson until he signs his letter of intent. Iowa has two scholarships available for next season, and McCaffery is unsure if he’ll use both of them.
“We’ll probably carry it over,” McCaffery said of one scholarship. “But again, there’s still a ton of guys out there. There’s an amazing amount of transfers.
“You want to make sure if you take a transfer it’s the right fit for him and it’s the right fit for us. Because a transfer he doesn’t have any more options. If you take him and it’s not the right fit for him, he’s out of moves at that point. I wouldn’t do that to him. I was a transfer myself. I want a guy that I know is going to fit and it’s going to be the right place for him.”
McCaffery still is working on next year’s schedule. As far as marquee games, Iowa will face Iowa State at home, Northern Iowa in Des Moines, likely plan an ACC opponent on the road and compete in a four-team, two-game tournament at Madison Square Garden with Syracuse, Texas and California. He doesn’t have any made-for-television games planned, however.
“Eventually, we’re probably going in that direction with the rest of our scheduling, but it won’t be for next year,” McCaffery said.
Here are the team awards:
CHRIS STREET AWARD: Devyn Marble
CO-TOP PLAYMAKER: Devyn Marble and Mike Gesell
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Jarrod Uthoff
DEFENSIVE PLAYER AWARD: Adam Woodbury
MOST IMPROVED: Josh Oglesby
BEST REBOUNDER: Aaron White
ACADEMIC AWARD: Mike Gesell
APPRECIATION AWARD: Darius Stokes
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