Analysis of Iowa’s new basketball players, PTL videos

July 14, 2009

I’m getting a pretty good feel for Iowa’s new players and how they will contribute in the upcoming season. At the end of the Prime Time League this month, I will write a full analysis of how Iowa basketball shapes up entering the 2009-2010 season. But here’s a look at the newcomers and how I think they can contribute for Iowa.

Iowa coaches will expect only one of the four new players to start, while the other three will contribute in different roles. Freshman Cully Payne will start at the point. Freshman Brennan Cougill will see significant time in the post. Freshman Eric May will play in spurts but his time will be determined by real practice and the non-conference schedule in November. Junior Devon Archie will split time at power forward.

Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Cully Payne (3) brings the ball down the court during the team's game against Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurrys on the opening night of the Prime Time League, June 15, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center.  (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Cully Payne (3) brings the ball down the court during the team's game against Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurrys on the opening night of the Prime Time League, June 15, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Payne (6-foot) will start and run the show for Coach Todd Lickliter. He’s got plenty of talent, but he’s young and will make mistakes. He’s the first true point guard under Lickliter and demonstrates more interest in running an offense and getting the proper players into position than his predecessors. Payne can shoot fairly well and can drive at times, too. He has struggled in the PTL with more athletic defenders, like Kirkwood’s Kaylon Williams, and can be beaten off the ball by quicker ball-handlers. I’d say he’s a little more skilled at the point than Jeff Peterson but has a lot to prove to match Peterson’s toughness. It’s likely he’s in for a long season squaring off against Penn State’s Talor Battle, Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas and Michigan’s Manny Harris. He’ll do OK but he’ll take his lumps.

Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurrys' Eric May (7) puts up a shot over Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Eric Coleman (53) during their game July 6, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center.  (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurrys' Eric May (7) puts up a shot over Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Eric Coleman (53) during their game July 6, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

May (6-5) is a tremendous athlete. He’s perhaps the most versatile player on the team. He can play inside and outside. He guards at least four positions and brings as much intensity as any player on the court. He’ll contribute by playing hard, but he doesn’t have a defined position right now. I look for May playing about 15 minutes a game rotating from shooting guard to power forward at times.

Cougill (6-10) will see about 40 percent of the action in the post as a back-up to Jarryd Cole. Cougill is a skilled passer and a good shooter. He has decent moves in the post and works hard. He struggles against more physical big men. His conditioning also is improving, but not a strength. The good thing about Cougill is he’s aware of his deficiencies and working on them daily. Right now he’s more of a finesse post player but in two years could be a real solid inside player.

Iowa forward Devon Archie takes the ball up strong against Iowa post Brennan Cougill during PrimeTime League action at the North Liberty Community Center on Monday, June 29, 2009. (Benjamin Roberts/Freelance)

Iowa forward Devon Archie takes the ball up strong against Iowa post Brennan Cougill during PrimeTime League action at the North Liberty Community Center on Monday, June 29, 2009. (Benjamin Roberts/Freelance)

Archie (6-9) is the most athletic player on the team. He’s sleek, can jump and has good moves to the basket. He’s a decent passer and makes good attempts to set screens, a bonus in Lickliter’s system. But Archie doesn’t play real physical and doesn’t appear to fight for position under the basket. He’s a different player than sophomore forward Aaron Fuller, which will make for a good combination at the position. Archie compares favorably with former Iowa player Kurt Looby.

Bottom line: These players will contribute this year but won’t save the world. They likely will supplement their teammates and fill the required roles. Payne, Cougill and May will help build a foundation for Iowa’s future, but like many freshmen, they will experience the lows before the highs.

Here are a couple of highlights from Monday’s Prime Time League:


Iowa picks up four-star offensive lineman

July 13, 2009

Ohio native and four-star recruit Andrew Donnal committed to Iowa this morning, HawkeyeReport.com reported this morning.

Donnal, a 6-foot-7, 265-pound offensive lineman, picked Iowa over several schools, including Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois, according to the Web site. Rivals ranks him No. 127 on its national board.

“The main thing was I just felt really comfortable at Iowa every time that I visited,” Donnal told the Web site. “The coaches are great and the players have nothing but good things to say about it, so I think it’s going to be a great fit. Plus if you’re a lineman, Iowa is definitely one of the best places you can go.”


Sporting News’ Q&A with Shonn Greene

July 13, 2009

Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene talks with the Sporting News’ Bill Eichenberger about the upcoming season, his duties and comparing Iowa with the NFL.

The New York Jets drafted Greene with the first pick in the third round.

Here’s the link: Q&A … with Shonn Greene


PTL thoughts, July 6 (with video)

July 8, 2009
Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Aaron Fuller (24) pulls up for a shot over Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurry's Eric May (7) during their game on the opening night of the Prime Time league Monday, June 15, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center.  (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Aaron Fuller (24) pulls up for a shot over Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurry's Eric May (7) during their game on the opening night of the Prime Time league Monday, June 15, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

I wrote about Eric May on Monday night, and he had a good performance. He scored 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished seven assists. He also showed his versatility by defending point guard Cully Payne, shooting guard Devan Bawinkel and power forward Aaron Fuller.

I was most impressed with Fuller, who notched 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He’s stronger and more physical in the paint than last year. He also can shoot from the outside, hitting two three-pointers. Payne was up-and-down, scoring 22 points with eight assists. Bawinkel hit 4-of-6 shots — all three-point attempts — for 12 points. His style of game doesn’t transition well to the up-and-down Prime Time League.

I spent only a few minutes at the other game, where Matt Gatens returned in solid fashion. He scored 32 points, grabbed six rebounds and directed his team to a 100-81 win. He told me afterward he felt fine just two weeks after an appendectomy.


NFL Network vs. Big Ten Network in the dead zone

July 3, 2009

Slow doesn’t begin to describe this time of year for college athletics and the NFL. Having covered both for a significant period of time, I can tell you everyone associated with the NFL is on vacation during the July 4 holiday. Likewise, college officials usually are as far from campus as possible.

It’s only reasonable to expect two networks exclusively televising pro football or college athletics to struggle for relevant programming this time of year. To examine this, I went through the entire television schedule of both the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network beginning with Sunday, June 28 and ending on July 4. Here are my observations.

Both networks repeat programming the same way Clear Channel recycles songs and news stories on the radio. The Big Ten Network repeated programming 45 times during this week. That includes four telecasts of “Big Ten Legends: Lloyd Carr” and four airings of the 2009 Big Ten men’s tennis tournament. The NFL Network is much, much worse. It replayed its programming 90 times during the seven-day period.

The Big Ten Network is required to show campus programming, and this is the perfect time of year to do so. There were three airings of Purdue’s “Boiler Bytes,” and Northwestern’s “Student Concerto Competition.” Iowa varied its campus programming with shows on vitality, sustainability and “Getting Ready for the Boom.” I presume that’s a euphemism for the alarm clock to wake us from that programming, but I digress.

The Big Ten Network has done a good job of trying to shake up its replays by instituting campus-specific programming on different days. There have been (and will be again on July 12) Iowa days when the network airs past games in which Iowa was victorious.

During this sample week, the Big Ten Network devoted a day for Wisconsin. The programming included a 1999 Rose Bowl victory, a big basketball win against Maryland in 2000 and the annual hockey grudge match against Minnesota. There also was campus programming on the common cold (aahh-chew), international relations (is this the fishing zone between the U.S. and Canada?) and the mind of a psychopath (Wisconsin’s own Jeffrey Dahmer?).

On July 4, the BTN will air the league’s greatest football games of 2008, plus other football-related programming. Good move. Overall, it was a decent week for the network, which slowly is building its resume as one of the better sports networks on television.

The NFL Network is the reigning repeat champion. No other network outside of Headline News repeats its programming more than the NFL Network. It’s a shame because the NFL Network has so much potential.

During the June 28-July 4 sample week, the NFL Network was fairly predictable, based on past years. Sundays are filled with 90-minute replays from four games during a 2008 weekend From noon Sunday through 6 p.m. Monday, those replays ran 16 times.

The NFL Network’s daily trademark, “Total Access,” is a one-hour news/feature show that airs every weeknight at 6 p.m. Unfortunately, it re-airs and re-airs and re-airs some more. The Monday version aired 10 times. The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday versions aired 12 times each. That’s way too much programming time to dedicate to one 60-minute show.

The network also re-airs other programming at an alarming rate. Tuesday night, the network showed two 30-minute and one 60-minute episodes of “NFL Game of the Week.” Those shows then re-aired nine more times.

On Monday nights (and usually on the following Saturday), the NFL Network airs a “Classic Game” with its original broadcasters. Unfortunately, many of the classics go back to 2008 or 2007. Since the 1970 merger, there have been 9,061 games NFL games played — 8,680 regular season, 381 postseason.

The NFL Network did schedule a weekend dedicated to its Emmy-winning documentary series “America’s Game.” Beginning at 5 a.m. on July 4, the network will air each episode of its Super Bowl champion series, followed by its “Missing Rings” series. That’s a tremendous idea, but the network should have started it earlier in the week to expose those fans who have yet to see it.

What the NFL Network does, it does well. It just doesn’t do it enough and it is much too repetitive. When Brett Favre returns again expect nothing the network to destroy all of its programming to show his first Packers’ game, the Monday night game following his dad’s death, the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI win and last year’s Jets-Patriots Thursday night game on NFL Network.  The network did it when he retired, when he un-retired and then when he retired again.


Roy Marble Sr. ‘blown away’ by son’s decision

July 2, 2009
Roy Marble Jr. loosens up before a Southfield Lathrup (Mich.) High School basketball practice. (Detroit Free Press)

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)

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.”


Marble Jr. makes decision

July 2, 2009

According to both HawkeyeReport.com and HawkeyeNation.com, Roy Marble Jr. has committed to Iowa.

Marble Jr., son of Iowa’s all-time leading scorer Roy Marble, is the second 2010 commitment. Ben Brust of Mundelein, Ill., committed to Iowa on Wednesday.


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