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


Zach McCabe tabs Iowa, touts ‘physical’ play

July 17, 2009
Sioux City Heelan's Zach McCabe dunks the ball in his team's victory over Carroll in a Class 3A semifinal game at the Iowa boys high school basketball tournament,  Thursday, March 12, 2009, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Steve Pope)

Sioux City Heelan's Zach McCabe dunks the ball in his team's victory over Carroll in a Class 3A semifinal game at the Iowa boys high school basketball tournament, Thursday, March 12, 2009, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Steve Pope)

Sioux City Heelan senior Zach McCabe sifted through numerous basketball scholarship offers but only one tugged at his heart.

McCabe, a 6-foot-6 forward, picked Iowa over Arizona State, Virginia, Utah, Minnesota and Northwestern among others. McCabe said his choice came down to one simple, yet special factor.

“I’ve been a Hawkeye fan ever since I was a little kid,” McCabe said Friday. “Playing there has always been a dream of mine. For me I wanted to stay close to home and instate and help Iowa be winners.”

McCabe is the fourth and final high school commitment for the 2010 class. He joins guards Roy Marble Jr. of Detroit and Ben Brust of Mundelein, Ill., and forward Cody Larson of South Falls (S.D.) Roosevelt as future Iowa players.

McCabe averaged 16.1 points and nine rebounds a game for the Class 3A state champion Crusaders. He led the team in assists with 144 and sank 50.3 percent of his shots. He was a teammate of incoming Iowa freshman Brennan Cougill.

“They’re going to get somebody who’s both blue collar and white collar,” Heelan Coach Tom Betz said. “He’s not afraid to do the dirty work. He’s a competitor.

“He’s as competitive of a kid we’ve ever had and a very skilled kid. He shoots the ball extremely well and plays both ends of the court.”

McCabe also plays quarterback for Heelan’s football team and garnered a few football scholarship offers. He said his passion lies with basketball, which made his college sport an easy choice. But his on-court basketball mentality mirrors his football mindset.

“I’m a very tough player, pretty physical,” McCabe said. “For me, I can score and rebound. I pretty much do anything the coaches ask me to do.”

Iowa coaches offered McCabe a scholarship earlier this year, but McCabe wanted to take his time to validate his choice. He played in a summer AAU tournament in Milwaukee last week and talked with his family about the new offers he had received.

“I told them I love Iowa a lot, and that’s where I wanted to go,” he said. “They (family members) would have been happy with anywhere I would have went. But they’re Hawkeye fans.”

Marble Jr. makes decision

July 2, 2009

According to both and, 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.

Ben Brust makes it official

July 1, 2009

Prep guard Ben Brust has chosen to play basketball at Iowa next year, he told me moments ago.

Brust chose Iowa over Northwestern, Stanford and Butler.

“It is official … I’m going to be Hawkeye,” Brust told me.


“I did all my homework, and I know this is what the right place,” he said. “It’s a great college town, the atmosphere … academically it’s what I’m looking for in a school.”

Brust, a 6-foot-2 incoming senior at Mundelein High School, averaged 28 points a game last year as a high school junior before breaking his leg. He said he’s completely healed from that injury.

Brust also is good friends with incoming Iowa freshman guard Cully Payne, who also is from the Chicago suburbs. Tuesday, the duo shot baskets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and Brust said that helped seal his decision. Brust also is excited about competing in the Big Ten.

“The Big Ten is a major plus,” he said. “The fact you go into all these places and compete against all these opponents, that’s I want to do.”

Brust joins Sioux Falls (S.D.) Roosevelt’s Cody Larson as Iowa’s 2010 commitments. Iowa has two scholarships available and have offered them to Sioux City Heelan’s Zach McCabe and Roy Marble Jr., son of Iowa’s all-time leading scorer Roy Marble.

Ben Brust to make decision ‘maybe tomorrow’

June 29, 2009

Ben Brust took an unofficial visit to the Iowa campus Monday and could decide by Tuesday if Iowa City will be his home for the next four years.

Brust, a 6-foot-2 incoming senior guard in Mundelein, Ill., has narrowed his choices to three schools: Iowa, Northwestern and Butler.

“This is my last visit,” Brust said Monday night while attending the Prime Time League in North Liberty. “I’m going to go home and really think hard.”

He said he plans to make his decision soon.

“Maybe before the start of July,” he said. “Maybe tomorrow, maybe first part of July.”

Brust was averaging 28 points a game for Mundelein High School before breaking his leg in January. He missed the rest of the season.

Brust and incoming Iowa freshman Cully Payne are friends from the Chicagoland area. That could aid Iowa’s chances of landing Brust.

“It’s definitely nice having Cully around because I’ve known him for a while,”  Brust said. “It’s someone I can trust, it’s someone I know is going to tell me the truth and will be around for three years at Iowa, if I choose to come here.

“I just want to check out the guys because I’m going to be with them the next four years,” he said.

Although Brust’s numbers give a scorer vibe, Brust said he’s an all-around player on the court.

“I’m a high-energy type guy,” he said. “I just like to be out there and bring as much energy as possible and play hard. (I try) to create for other guys, score, get out on the break and find guys … whatever, I just want to ball.”