LAST SEASON: 20-12; lost to N.C. State in NCAA first round.
GOODBYE TO: g Andre Banks (10.3 ppg); coach George Raveling.
SUPPORTING CAST: c Al Lorenzen; f Ed Horton; C Gerry Wright.
INTRODUCING: 6'9" freshman Mark Jewell.
SEE YOU IN THE SUPERDOME IF: Wright develops into a solid center; the Hawkeyes adjust to Tom Davis's vivace after Raveling's allegro.
The metamorphosis of Roy Marble into a Hawkeye standout might be traceable to two sets of unalike digits: his pinkies and his jersey number. He broke both little fingers years ago, trying to block a disciplinary kick in the butt by a football coach; since then he has paid careful attention to the suggestions of anyone carrying a whistle. Says new Iowa coach Tom Davis, "Roy almost listens too much. He's almost too pliable." Says the sophomore forward, "Right now I need people to guide me. But I know one day I'll break out and create my own game. I want to be known as a creator."
Which brings us to that other set of digits, the ones that make up the No. 23 on his uniform. Filling out a questionnaire for the Hawkeye athletic department, Marble wrote in the same name for his favorite athlete, favorite entertainer and the person he would give anything to meet: Michael Jordan. But getting the number of the Chicago Bulls' star was a fluke—so Marble says. Yet comparisons between the two are nothing new. He and Jordan are about the same size (Marble is 6'5", 205 pounds; Jordan is 6'6", 195), both are dunkaholics, and both are exceptional shooters (Marble hit 18 of 19—no layups—in a high school conference title game). And Marble's freshman season at Iowa (12.5 points, 4.9 rebounds per game) rates even with Jordan's at North Carolina (13.5,4.4).
So far Davis has liked what he has seen in Marble. "The things he does, we can't teach. The things he can't do, we can teach him," says Davis.
"I come from a finesse and press and dunking background," Marble says. The dunking should be ample, considering Marble's monolithic mates—6'8" Ed Horton, 6'9" Al (the Vanilla Gorilla) Lorenzen and 6'7" Gerry (Sir Jamalot) Wright. The pressing should be possible; Iowa goes as deep as anyone in the Big Ten. But the finessing may be troublesome. Bill Jones, a 6'7" guard, may end up running Davis's running show.
To ensure that the transition game Davis favors is a success, the Hawkeyes will need all their Marble.