Peer pressure leading recruits to Iowa

July 18, 2009
Southfield-Lathrup (Mich.) High School's Roy Marble Jr., during practice on Friday, January 11, 2008.  (Photo by DAVID KILKENNEY/Special to The Free Press)

Southfield-Lathrup (Mich.) High School's Roy Marble Jr., during practice on Friday, January 11, 2008. (Photo by DAVID KILKENNEY/Special to The Free Press)

Most people believe peer pressure for teenagers involves only their friends. That’s not necessarily accurate, especially when it comes to sports recruiting.

College sports teams — especially in basketball — have only a few select scholarships open each year. Once they’re gone, those scholarships aren’t coming back.

Iowa had four open scholarships for 2010. In fall 2008, Sioux Falls (S.D.) Roosevelt forward Cody Larson committed to Iowa. Shortly thereafter, Chanse Creekmur from Marshalltown committed (and later decommitted).

In March, when four Iowa players left the program, Iowa suddenly had four available scholarships for the 2010 season. One, obviously, is on hold for Larson. But within the last month, Iowa secured three commitments while somewhat playing those recruits against others.

Mundelein (Ill.) guard Ben Brust was the first to jump on board, picked Iowa over Northwestern and Butler on July 1. Then, in stunning fashion, Iowa nabbed Detroit’s Roy Marble Jr., son of the school’s all-time leading scorer Roy Marble, one day later. Marble, who had several offers from mid-majors and had looks from Michigan and Michigan State, was interested in other schools but was comfortable with Iowa. He didn’t want to risk losing a scholarship to play the scholarship waiting game elsewhere.

“I committed early because kids are starting to commit early,” he said. “Because I had some idea I wanted to be a Hawk, I didn’t want them to take my scholarship and give it to somebody else.”

McCabe became a summer camp superstar, receiving scholarship offers from Minnesota, Arizona State, Utah, Northwestern and other schools in the region. He received an offer from Iowa in March but wanted to wait almost to validate his commitment. He knew Iowa had only one scholarship left for his class, and he couldn’t leave the coaches hanging forever.

“I think for me it was kind of nerve wracking for a little while,” he said. “But I was excited when Iowa got Ben Brust and Roy Marble Jr. I played against Ben Brust in a tournament in Chicago. He’s a very good guard. Of course I know about Cody Larson. He’s very athletic. I’m just excited just knowing those other players are coming in.”

All of Iowa’s 2010 recruits also received boosts from people connected with the Iowa program. Marble Jr.’s dad is the only player to score more than 2,000 for Iowa.McCabe’s former high school teammate, Brennan Cougill, will be a freshman this fall at Iowa. Brust is good friends with Cully Payne, who also is an incoming freshman. Larson grew up in the same town as Wisconsin’s Joe Krabbenhoft, who told Larson that Iowa’s program was headed in the right direction.

Iowa could have other scholarships open up in 2010, if someone leaves the team early. Here’s a look at Iowa’s class of 2010 and their numbers last year.

Roy Marble Jr., a 6-foot-5 guard/forward from Detroit, averaged 22 points, nine rebounds and 4.5 assists

Zach McCabe, a 6-foot-6 forward, averaged 16.1 points, nine rebounds and 5.3 assists for Class 3A state champion Sioux City Heelan

Cody Larson, a 6-foot-8 forward/post, averaged 17.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists for Sioux Falls Roosevelt. He had offseason knee surgery

Ben Brust, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 28 points a game for Mundelein (Ill.) High School until breaking his leg midway through the season


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