Roy Marble Jr. loosens up before a Southfield Lathrup (Mich.) High School basketball practice. (Detroit Free Press)
Roy Marble Sr. got the call Wednesday night, the one he didn’t expect but the one he always wanted.
His son, Roy Marble Jr., phoned to tell him his college choice. Roy Marble Jr., a senior at Southfield Lathrup (Mich.) High School, will follow his father at the University of Iowa.
“Man, words don’t even describe it,” Marble Sr. said Thursday. “We’re already close as it is. We probably talk more than we should sometimes. But to actually have him in front of me where I could actually pass on my knowledge in every area of growing up in college life and everything, God blessed me with a great kid.
“It’s like Christmas 10 times over.”
Roy Marble Sr. scored 2,116 points his career at Iowa from 1986-89. He’s the only player in Iowa history to score more than 1,800 points. He lives in Cedar Rapids and works as an analyst for the Big Ten Network and a consultant for Kirkwood Community College.
Roy Marble Jr. said he visits his father about three times a year. Marble Jr. said he and his father discussed his college choices but the younger Marble was able to make his own choice.
“He had his thoughts on it and stuff and helped with me the decision,” Roy Marble Jr. said. “I didn’t feel any pressure, though.”
Marble Sr. said he questioned his son about coming to Iowa during the recruiting process, primarily because of his own legacy. But his son stood up to him. Marble Sr. relented.
“I laughed and said, ‘OK, you’re just like me. You’re going to take on the biggest challenge,’” Marble Sr. said.
Former Iowa basketball player Roy Marble drives to the basket in a 1986 game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Marble is Iowa's all-time leading scorer. His son, Roy Marble Jr., committed to Iowa on Thursday. (The Gazette)
But it wasn’t preordained that Marble Jr. would follow his father to Iowa. He attended an elite camp at the University of Michigan earlier this month. He visited Providence, liked Michigan, and had offers from Detroit and Dayton. But Marble Jr. was blown away by Iowa’s coaching staff. He’s Iowa’s third 2010 basketball commitment.
“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.
“I felt real comfortable when I came down here for a visit. I liked the environment.”
Marble Jr., a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, averaged 22 points, nine rebounds and 4.5 assists as a junior. He scored 28 points in a regional loss to a team featuring two Michigan State recruits. He’s confident in his abilities and what he can do for Iowa.
“I shoot the ball real well,” he said. “I attack the basket real well. I’m both a scorer and a slasher.”
Two weeks ago, both Marbles attended a Prime Time League game in North Liberty and received applause from the gym full of fans.
“They gave me a warm welcome and let me know how they feel about the situation,” Marble Jr. said. “It was cool.”
For Marble Sr., it’s nearly perfect. After losing his downtown businesses in the 2008 floods, he now has something exciting in his life.
“This is like my cash back in sort of thing,” he said. “This is bringing me some happiness in my life, rather than sitting around being sad. It takes my mind off of that. Now I can concentrate on being the best dad I can and get ready for some good old-fashioned Hawkeye basketball.”