Since neither the Hawkeyes coaches nor Devyn Marble would come out and say Marble was dealing with the effects of his ankle or turf toe injury during the middle of the season, I guess we’ll have to refer to that period as a slump.
Now, it won’t surprise me in the least bit that once the season is officially over we may have a little more light shed on that ‘slump’. That’s just my opinion going off the eye test of Marble’s play before he rolled his ankle days prior to the Michigan State home game and what we saw from him for the next seven games after.
After reading the talk from Tuesday about Marble saying he will be returning to Iowa next year and harkening back on some of the NBA talk from this past summer, I decided to take a look at his numbers in three separate chunks. The first 15 games before the injuries, the next seven games in which he played then the last 10 games after he broke out of the ‘slump’. Here are the numbers
So what can we take away from these numbers?
First of all, that was one heck of a slump. I’ll keep believing he was injured and Iowa was playing competitive advantage games, which I would have done were I in their shoes. He looked injured. He had a limp at times, he winced at others. His shot was flat as it was mostly arms and very little in the leg department. Wouldn’t you know it the statistics bear that out, too. His field goal percentage before and after the slump was over 42% in each instance; during the slump it was 26.6%. You can see his three-point shooting percentages before,during and after, too. Huge decrease during the ‘slump’.
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OK, that’s not conclusive of there being an injury. None of this will be but the smoking gun for me during the slump and one that holds up under this cross examination of the numbers is Marble’s free throws attempted per game, or listed as FTA/G on the graph. He was at 5.08 per game in the 15 games before the slump and jumped to 5.80 per game in the 10 games after the slump. He was also playing more point guard in nearly half of the post-slump games so that could attribute for the higher average. But during the slump Marble’s free throw attempts per game dipped to just 3.28. You may remember how he was unable to take anyone off the dribble, even slow footed Ben Brust. Or how Brust was able to beat Marble off the dribble. That was not good video there, but you could tell Marble was laboring even if Iowa wasn’t admitting it. Notice how the Field Goal Attempts per game line, the 3FG% line, the FT% line, etc, how the first 15 and the final 10 are all very similar and how much of an outlier the Slump Seven line is.
Now that I feel better about what my eyes saw, move your attention to the bottom line of the data. That is taking Marble’s first 15 games and final 10 games and adding those together without including any of the slump data.
Marble averaged 16 points per game during those 25 games, or most of the season. Matt Gatens averaged 15.2/ppg last year. Adam Haluska averaged 20.5/ppg in 2006-2007 on a team that was far less talented than this year’s Iowa team. You’d have to go back to Pierre Pierce’s 20 game stretch in 04-05 where he averaged 17.8/ppg before being kicked off the team for a better number than Marble’s 16 outside of Haluska’s.
Marble’s average right now is 14.1/ppg but as you can see that slump took a bite out of one of the better individual scoring seasons Iowa has had in the past decade on arguably the second best team Iowa has had over the last decade.
Marble wasn’t the one to initiate the NBA talk this summer, though me and others certainly weighed in strongly with opinions at the time which was unfair to Devyn, since he didn’t bring up the topic. He didn’t bring up the topic on Tuesday, either; he just answered the question.
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That said, Marble put together a very, very good season and has shown exponential growth in each of the past two years as seen by these side by side stats provided via Marble’s page at Sports Reference
As you now know, Marble was on a pace for a much better season than his numbers will ultimately show. He’ll return for his final year at Iowa and keep in mind that he’s still just 20 years old and he won’t turn 21 until September of his senior year, a year where his peers turn 22. I think there may be more growth in his game.