On most Big 10 teams, Marble would have redshirted. But, Iowa's lack of depth, did not allow McCaffery the option of putting the redshirt on him. So, to start the season, Marble was Iowa's back up shooting guard to Matt Gatens. Then Cully Payne went down to injury, and Marble became Iowa's back up point guard too. He performed about as well as you could ask from him, playing a position that he was clearly not suited for. He wasn't good, but he wasn't horrible (ex: Purdue game when Cartwright was injured). And really, that that sums up Marble's season in one sentence. He wasn't good, but he wasn't horrible either.
- Shooting in the Paint- Notice how I said "in the paint." Marble was one of the worst shooters on the team this year, but when it came to scoring in the paint, he was one of the best. He took 41 shots inside the paint this year, and connected on 32 of them. His 78.05% FG% in the paint was second on the team to Jarryd Cole.
- Defense- This is based more on potential, than actual results. In reality, Iowa had a bad defense this year. But, at the end of the year, when Marble was inserted into the starting lineup, Fran made it a point to put him on the opposing team's best scorer at times. He wasn't always successful, as guys like Darius Morris could tell you, but he was better than the other options. Cartwright is good at a lot of things, but defense is not one of them. Gatens is a pretty good defender at times, but his lack of foot speed regularly got him beat on back door passes this year (ex: Northwestern) Eric May, well, does anybody know what went on with him this year? All three of those problems, left Marble looking like the best option for Iowa on defense. What did Marble bring to the table? Well, Marble has a lot of upside on defense. He's a quick enough to stay with athletic wing players, and also has long enough arms to help keep his man in front of him. I'm not saying he will develop into a lockdown defender, but he can definitely be a good one down the road.
- All Other Shooting- Once Marble starts moving away from the basket, he becomes a very inefficient shooter. He made only 25% of his two point shots outside of the paint (team average = 28.17%) and 26.83% of his three point field goal attempts (team average = 31.40%). You can even add free throw shooting to this category. Marble only made 53.03% of his free throw attempts this year (team average = 67.55%). That was better than only Devon Archie (26.09%) and Andrew Brommer (42.42%), which is not at all a compliment. Marble was easily the worst on the team by a wing player, as Eric May was the next worst, shooting 60.38% from the charity stripe. Now, all of this is not to say that Marble won't get better. I certainly expect him too, as he was only a freshman this year. But, this is to say, that he needs to do a lot of shooting this offseason.
As expected, the true freshman Marble, had some huge splits between non-conference and conference play. In Big 10 play, Marble averaged 0.10 points per minute less and 0.25 points per scoring attempt less than he did against weaker competition. If you want another stat to know how much his shooting suffered in Big 10 play, you can look at his 37.82% eFG% (!) compared to his 48.18% non-conference eFG%. He clearly struggled against the better competition.
Marble didn't do himself any favors this year, either. 92 of his 174 field goal attempts this year, were two point field goals outside of the paint. By shooting 52.87% of his shots from the area between the paint and the three point line, where he just so happens to make only 25% of his shots, he essentially made it harder for himself to score. Instead, he took less than half as many shots inside the paint, where he just so happens to shoot 78.05%. More shots in the paint please!
Because Marble was such a good shooter in the paint and such a bad shooter from everywhere else, he got most of his offensive value from inside the paint.
Here are his shooting stats that I've already mentioned above. So, once again: More shots in the paint please!
Moving away from shooting. There are some positives here. First, his turnover rate was higher than his assist rate, which is not a positive. However, his 17.1% turnover rate actually graded out around average in the Big 10 this year. During the regular season, among Big 10 wing players who played at least 35% of their teams minutes this year, the average turnover rate was 17.2%. So, Marble wasn't too turnover prone. Which is very encouraging. Hopefully, Marble won't be playing point guard anymore, which means his assist rate isn't as important.
Marble was also pretty good rebounder this year. Marble's 3.80% offensive rebounding rate was decent. However, his 11.17% defensive rebounding rate was pretty good for a guard. It was number two on the team among wing players, behind only McCabe, who sometimes played power forward. Hopefully, that long frame and long arms will only allow Marble to become even better at cleaning up on the glass.
Expectations for Next Year:
As a sophomore next year, there still won't be many expectations for Marble. The team will return the likes of Basabe, Cartwright, Gatens, and even May (who will hopefully find himself this offseason). All of this means that Iowa will not be relying on Marble to have a huge season in 2011-2012.
Depending on how the play of Eric May (pardon my rhyme), Marble could be a starter next year, or he could be one of the first guys off the bench again. My hope, is that May gets his game together, and allows Marble to develop his game coming off the bench.
Either way, the main improvement Marble needs to make is in shooting the ball. Hopefully, he will make some improvement on his three point shots and his mid-range jumpers. Also, more shots in the paint! The combination of all three will, hopefully, bring his eFG% up to around 48% or so. Which, isn't great by any means, but it's much better than 41%. But, if nothing else, I really hope Marble improves his free throw shooting. 53% from the line is just not acceptable. When you think about the possibility of Marble getting the ball at the end of the game and getting fouled, it becomes downright scary. His goal should be to at least get over the 60% mark next season (baby steps). I think Marble will show some improvement next year. If for no other reason, than because it's hard to do much worse.
Other than shooting, look to see if Marble can cut the turnovers a little more or at least keep them steady with this year. With his assists and rebounds, something similar would be nice, but an increase instead of a cut in them. His rebounding I can see getting better, especially because he is so long. Also, as he gets stronger, and is able to throw his body around a little more, that should help him with rebounding and defense too.
Overall, Marble was pretty much what Iowa expected to get coming out of high school. He wasn't good, but he wasn't terrible. He wasn't able to redshirt, due to the lack of depth for Iowa, and he actually found himself in the starting lineup at the end of the year. While, he had his share of struggles, his talent also flashed through every once in a while. Giving Iowa fans a little glimpse of what could be down the road. It's pretty clear, that Marble has a lot of upside on the offensive and defensive side of the basketball. Right now, it's all about patience for Iowa fans, as it may take a little while for it all to come out.