One Proud Poppa: CHD interviews Iowa legend Roy Marble

Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble was selected 56th overall by the Denver Nuggets in last month’s NBA draft.  However, this summer marks the 25th anniversary of the first Roy Marble from Iowa to ever be drafted.  Roy Sr. was a high school All-American before deciding to become a Hawkeye, where he helped lead his team to 4 straight NCAA tourneys and became the all-time leading scorer in school history.  Now they are poised to join a long list of fathers and sons who have each played in the NBA: Henry and Mike Bibby, Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Jr., Dolph and Danny Schayes, etc.  CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Roy about switching positions, losing a tourney game in double-OT, and why the 4th of July holds a special place in his heart. 


In 1985 you were named a McDonald’s All-American: which of your fellow high school seniors impressed you the most (Sean Elliott/Danny Ferry/other)? I remember both Elliott/Ferry being prominent players at that time.

In the 1986 NCAA tourney you scored 15 points but missed the front end of a one-and-one with 12 seconds left in a two point loss to NC State: where does that rank among the most devastating losses of your career? That is probably number three, but the UNLV game in 1987 is number one and our loss to Iowa State in the late 1980s was number two.

In the 1987 NCAA tourney you scored 28 PTS (10-11 FT) in a two point win over UTEP (Tim Hardaway scored 11 points), including two free throws with 31 seconds left: what did you learn from the missed FTs the year before that helped you this time around? I learned to be repetitive and shoot them the same. I would take 600-800 shots every day (including 300 FTs) to improve my muscle memory.

You scored 11 points and Kevin Gamble made a three-point shot with one second left in in a two point overtime win over Oklahoma: where does Gamble’s shot rank among the most clutch you have ever seen? I am a little biased, but it catapulted us into the next round so I think it is the most clutch shot I have ever seen!

You scored nine points in a three point loss to top-ranked UNLV in Seattle (Armon Gilliam had 27 points/10 rebounds): how were the Rebels able to overcome an 18-point deficit in the second half? They just fired it up from so far away that it caught us off guard. We got a little hesitant and they beat us to a few loose balls.

In the 1988 NCAA tourney you scored 22 points (8-10 FG) in a win over UNLV (Stacey Augmon had 10 points/10 rebounds): how sweet was it to beat the team that ended your season the previous year? It was definitely payback, but we were also happy just to get the victory.

You scored 14 points in a loss to Arizona in Seattle (Sean Elliott had 25 points/8 assists and Steve Kerr had 17 points/8 assists): were you getting sick of playing tourney games in Seattle?! I was not tired of Seattle: it is a great city. I just wish we could have won some games there.

In 1989 you switched from forward to guard: why did you make the switch, and how difficult was it to play a new position? It was not difficult for me because that is where I was supposed to be playing originally, but after Gamble and some of my other teammates graduated I just had to step in and help the team.

In 1989 you scored a career-high 37 points in a loss to 4th-ranked Illinois: was it just 1 of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were “in the zone”? They had announced the all-Big 10 selections just before we got on the bus and I was really upset that I was not named to the 1st-team, so I had that on my mind the entire time. I wanted to play as hard as I could.

In the 1989 NCAA tourney you scored 24 points in a two point loss to NC State (Rodney Monroe had 40 points including the game-tying baskets in both regulation and the 1st OT (the latter despite being double-teamed by yourself/BJ Armstrong): do you think Monroe got any extra motivation after overhearing you/BJ in an elevator at the team hotel the night before the game saying how you were going to win? I do not think Rodney needed any motivation, but if BJ and I said we were going to win then that is because it is what we planned to do. Rodney was red-hot from the start and even after I switched to guard him I was unable to stop him: it was another very disappointing loss.

You finished your college career as the all-time leading scorer in school history: did you realize at the time how prolific a player you were, and do you think that anyone will ever break your record? Like I tell my son today, you chase victories and do whatever it takes for your team to win. I did not know where I would end up when my career was over but I was passionate about winning and took it personally to play my best every game. I do not think that my record will be broken anytime soon.

In the summer of 1989 you were drafted in the first round by Atlanta (three spots ahead of Vlade Divac), but ended up playing only 29 games: what did it mean to you to get drafted, and what is your favorite memory from your time in the NBA? Hearing my name called by David Stern was one of the pinnacles of my career. I enjoyed Atlanta but had more fun in Denver with guys like Coach Dan Issel/Dikembe Mutombo/Bryant Stith.

Your son Roy Devyn increased his scoring during each of his 4 years at Iowa: how proud are you of all his success, and who is the best player in the family? I am very proud of him for coming to the same school that I went to, so my hat is off to him for keeping his eyes on the prize. At this point he is by far the better player: the only time I complete with him is when we play H-O-R-S-E over the 4th of July!