Ex-Hawks still busting some moves


The Daily Iowan

Iowa guard Devyn Marble dribbles the ball in Carver Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, November 17, 2013 in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa beat Abilene Christian, 103-41. (The Daily Iowan/Alyssa Hitchcock)

By Jordan Hansen

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Professional basketball is not an easy world to enter, and many athletes take a number of different paths to reach a league of note.

Under Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery, two players have had their name called on NBA Draft night — Aaron White and Devyn Marble. This number could jump up to three tonight if Jarrod Uthoff finds himself drafted.

Marble has had the longest stay in the NBA. Over the past two years he’s bounced between the Orlando Magic and its D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. During his time with the Magic, he’s averaged a pedestrian 2.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, and around 1 assist per game.

However, he’s spent just 457 minutes on an NBA floor over the past two years. His 2015-16 D-League numbers — 14.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 30.9 minutes per game — are a bit better, but he’s still played in just 23 D-League games over the past two season.

It’s hard to get a read on where Marble is in his development, but there were flashes, especially late last season on the defensive end of his game. Right now, Marble has a non-guaranteed year on his contract worth $980,000, and the Magic will have to pay him some of that if they do not waive him before Aug. 17.

There could certainly be a place for Marble in the NBA, but he needs to be better on the offensive end if he’s to have a real chance.

While Marble made the Magic’s roster his first year, Aaron White has yet to play in the NBA after being selected in last season’s draft by the Washington Wizards 49th overall.

This is because White, his agent, and the Wizards cooked up a deal that sent him to the German Basketball League (Basketball Bundesliga) to play for the Telekom Baskets Bonn during the 2015-16 season.

The league is the highest level of professional basketball in Germany and produced NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, among a number of other talented players. Since the Wizards do not have a D-League team, this was the best option for White, who would have seen very little playing time in Washington.

White played well in Germany, starting 28 of 34 games, and his stat line — 13.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists — should give Wizard fans a bit of hope that he’ll be able to contribute at some point. An important note on White — he shot 36.2-percent from behind the arc, and will only make himself more valuable if he continues to make long-distance baskets.

More than the stats, however, White has always been athletic enough to play at a very high level and showed it a number of times over the past year.

Doing things such as this will make him serious money:

Oh, and he hit a game-winner, too.

Even if White’s NBA career never amounts to much, there is absolutely a place in Europe for a player such as him. Barring injury, White has a great chance to carve out a nice basketball career for himself.

While White was making just a quick stop in Europe, several other Iowa players have been trying to get noticed overseas for a while now. Jarryd Cole, Melsahn Basabe, Matt Gatens and Gabe Olaseni have all spent time in Europe playing at various levels.

Gatens plays for the French Club Limoges CSP in a reserve role after bouncing around lower-tiered teams for several years. At 27, he likely won’t get an NBA shot, but if he can finish his playing career in another top-world league, that isn’t a bad achievement.

Cole and Basabe both play in smaller leagues, but there still is time for them to build on their career. Like Gatens, Cole plays in a French league, though his (BC Souffelweyersheim) is in the second tier, while Gatens is in the first.

Basabe has perhaps the best chance to make a jump to a higher league and has spent his off-season preparing to do just that. He’s now represented by Excel Sports Management, an agency with a number of big-time professional basketball players on its roster.

Basabe spent last season in the highest level of Belgian basketball and should find an even better place to play this season. For starters, he’s only 24 and with a better agent, he should get more opportunities. Helping is that he put up solid stats last year (16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds) and generally is a much more polished player than the one who graduated from Iowa in 2014.

For funsies, here’s some highlights of Basabe during his first pro season in Finland:

With Jarrod Uthoff in the mix as well, McCaffery is starting to develop a reputation as someone who can put players in the professional leagues. And that’s a good thing.

Follow @JordyHansen for Iowa and Big Ten news, updates, and analysis all summer.

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