IOWA CITY – Roy Marble joined the Iowa men’s basketball program in 1985 and became the school’s all-time leading scorer when he quit four years later.
But for Marble, his basketball accolades on the court were only a small part of his life story. Marble, 45, arrived in Iowa City from Flint, Michigan as a superstar athlete, but was quickly downsized by University of Iowa rhetoric professor Louise Kelly. Marble said his meeting with Kelly was life changing, and this is one of the many stories in his new book, “Two Decades and Counting: The Streak, The Wins, the Hawkeyes, Thru the Eyes of Roy Marble” .
The book, written by Brian D. Meeks, was not a project initially adopted by Marble. Marble’s son Roy Devyn Marble was scheduled to join the Iowa basketball program in the summer of 2010 when Meeks asked Marble about the book. Marble said he didn’t want to hinder or overshadow his son’s college career.
“I had a few bumps in the road and I was like, ‘Who wants to hear from me? “” said Marble. “Now I have a playing son and a daughter brought to me by Iowa. It’s like, you should just sit down. It is an uncomfortable situation.
Meeks was persistent and Marble’s family encouraged him to tell his story. Even Iowa coach Fran McCaffery backed the draft. So Marble decided to tell his story.
Marble, who now lives in Cedar Rapids, is quick to praise former Iowa athletic director Bump Elliott and women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer, as well as current coach John Streif and assistant athletic director Fred Mims. But Marble said Kelly was the person who gave him the confidence to share his story and become a whole person, rather than just an athlete.
“I don’t know anyone who has had the accolades that I’ve had here in Iowa basketball history,” Marble said. “I really hit my head with this lady (Kelly), and she pissed me off. I thought I might say, ‘Well, shit, and I’m going to work out.’
“I went to train but I stopped to see Fred Mims and I said, ‘This lady is not going to train. Transfer me to another class. ‘ He said, ‘I don’t think you understand. If you don’t do what she says, then you’re not going to practice. You won’t be in this school. So get your ass back there and finish your mission.
Marble initially sulked but returned to Kelly’s classroom. Kelly then told him to write about his childhood and his trip from Flint to Iowa City.
“It all just exploded from there,” Marble said. “She turned out to be my friend, the best lady. I wouldn’t even have been confident to try this if she hadn’t told me: ‘You will be a complete player, you will begin to understand what it means to assess, write and deepen your knowledge on paper rather than with your physical presence. and with your mouth.
“She broke me on it and from that point on I was a Hawkeye.”
The book is released Saturday to coincide with the celebration of the 1986-87 Iowa men’s basketball team, which finished 30-5. Marble was a sophomore that year, the only Iowa team ever to rank No.1, and averaging 14.9 points per game. He was a first-round draft pick for the Atlanta Hawks in 1989, but only played one season. He later reappeared with the Denver Nuggets for five games and played professionally in other leagues for seven years.
Roy Marble (23) of Iowa gives Yugoslav national team member Predrag Danilovic a good taste of his tongue during the first half of this exhibition basketball game on Thursday night. Iowa has licked its visit to Yugoslavia, 114-77. November 17, 1988 (The Gazette)
A book on the life of Roy Marble will be released on Saturday.