Who will be the next Hawkeye drafted?
Originally published on 6/27/14
It's time to turn the page on Devyn Marble. He now belongs to the NBA's Orlando Magic, the team that got the Iowa guard in the second round of Thursday's draft.
The next compelling question is this: Who's next?
Forward and senior-to-be Aaron White is the logical choice to be the Hawkeyes' next NBA Draft pick. Iowa hasn't had a player selected in the two-round draft in back-to-back years since 1998 (Ricky Davis, Ryan Bowen) and 1999 (J.R. Koch).
The program has made a steady climb in four seasons under coach Fran McCaffery, even with last-season's puzzling late-season swoon. Now it's about sustaining success, and not falling off the cliff that swallowed the program from 2006-07 through 2010-11.
The best way to keep things rolling is to recruit well. McCaffery and his staff have worked overtime to sell Iowa's tradition, as dusty as it had become. Two big selling points are NCAA bids and players selected in the NBA Draft.
Marble came to Iowa before McCaffery had hammered a single nail in his rebuilding project. Signed by Todd Lickliter in the fall of 2009, Marble was having second thoughts when the new guy came on board. McCaffery had to convince Marble that Iowa City was the place for him, not once but twice.
Marble will go down as the definitive piece in Iowa's return to postseason discussion over his four seasons and 136 games. Many others played a role, including fellow seniors Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe and older guys like Jarryd Cole, Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright.
But Marble, whose versatility made him Iowa's first all-Big Ten first-team selection since 2007, is the one who got the Hawkeyes some much-needed draft exposure.
Adam Haluska had been the last Iowa player drafted, back in 2007. He went to New Orleans in the second round, the 43rd player selected. The Hawkeyes still haven't had a first-round pick since Davis in 1998. Forward Reggie Evans, who went the free-agent route to get into the NBA in 2002, was the only former Hawkeye on an NBA roster in 2013-14.
So maybe Marble, and White, who is attending the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Washington, D.C., this week, will open some recruiting doors for McCaffery.
"I think it's going to have a huge impact," Marble said Thursday night. "I think recruits will look at it and see that coach McCaffery does have a formula to get players into the draft. Aaron going to the Durant camp is also very helpful. I think it will help with recruiting and help them get the players that they want."
McCaffery polished his image as a coach who cares about his players by his behind-the-scenes work on Marble's behalf. He called all the general managers of the 15 franchises Marble worked out for. He attended Marble's pro day in Los Angeles, and the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, to answer questions about a player who became Iowa's fifth-leading scorer and sixth-leading assist man.
McCaffery agrees that the Class of 2015 is an important one in the future of Iowa basketball, one that will help fill the void left by Marble, Basabe and McCabe now and White, Josh Oglesby and Gabe Olaseni, seniors on the 2014-15 team.
McCaffery already has commitments from two players in the Class of 2015 – Brandon Hutton, a small forward from Chicago DeLaSalle, and Andrew Fleming, a shooting guard who will play his senior season at prep school power Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. McCaffery has three more scholarships available for his 2015-16 roster. He also has a commitment from in-state Class of 2016 forward Cordell Pemsl from Dubuque Wahlert.
Who's next? A future NBA Draft pick or two would be nice.
Rick Brown, a 10-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year, covers Hawkeye football and basketball for the Register. Follow him on Twitter: @ByRickBrown.