March 17, 2014
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Jarryd Cole’s name won’t appear on the NCAA Tournament box score Wednesday when the University of Iowa men’s basketball team plays Tennessee in Dayton, Ohio. Neither will the names Matt Gatens or Eric May.
But those Hawkeye alumni were thought of and talked about Sunday evening on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena after Iowa earned its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006.
Cole was the lone senior on the 2010-11 UI team that finished 11-20 in Fran McCaffery’s first season in Iowa City. In 2011-12– with Gatens and Bryce Cartwright as seniors — the Hawkeyes won 18 times, including a National Invitation Tournament game against Dayton in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Last season May was the only senior on a Hawkeye team that won four consecutive NIT games and played in that tournament’s championship in Madison Square Garden.
McCaffery said one of the blessings he inherited as a first-year Hawkeye was leadership.
“We didn’t have a lot of bodies — but with Jarryd Cole, Matt Gatens and Eric May — those three guys are spectacular, and I hope they feel very much a part of what happened today,” McCaffery said.
UI senior forward Zach McCabe was a member of McCaffery’s first Hawkeye recruiting class. He played 31 games as a freshman (starting twice), averaging 5.8 points.
“They got us ready to become the future leaders and the guys that have to step up and make more plays throughout the season and throughout a game. They paved the way and showed us how it is to be done. Unfortunately for them, they are not here to share this and enjoy this with us, but they still kind of are in a way.”
Roy Devyn Marble
UI senior guard
“This is for those guys like Matt Gatens and Eric, and they’re as big a part of it now as they were as players,” McCabe said. “Just to get this opportunity is an exciting, humbling experience. Those guys are a big part of getting us to this point.”
During his time at the UI, Roy Devyn Marble has gone from a freshman who averaged 5.7 points a game to a senior who was named first-team All-Big Ten Conference after averaging 17.3 points in his first 32 games this season. Cole, Gatens, Cartwright, and fellow freshman Melsahn Basabe joined Marble in the starting lineup in 2010-11. He hasn’t forgotten what the upperclassmen did for him when he arrived on campus.
“They got us ready to become the future leaders and the guys that have to step up and make more plays throughout the season and throughout a game,” Marble said. “They paved the way and showed us how it is to be done. Unfortunately for them, they are not here to share this and enjoy this with us, but they still kind of are in a way.”
The situation for UI senior forward Melsahn Basabe was different than McCabe and Marble. While McCaffery “re-recruited” McCabe and Marble to remain Hawkeyes, Basabe originally committed to play for McCaffery at Siena College before following his coach to the Big Ten.
“Coach McCaffery gave me an opportunity to come to a Big Ten school,” Basabe said. “It’s like once in a lifetime and now I get to play in the NCAA tournament which is something that is so special that not a lot of people get to enjoy. It is something you hold close to your heart; we deserve it and I’m excited.”
Having an opportunity to make a run in the NCAA Tournament hasn’t happened in these parts in eight seasons; you might refer to that as making history. Basabe says Gatens and May made history as well by leading the program to the postseason…and they are not forgotten. Because of them, Basabe says, “We were able to take that next step that we dreamed of.”
McCaffery said the Hawkeye program started to come together in his first season. Then Iowa made a little noise with wins over ranked teams Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. In year three the Hawkeyes were an NCAA bubble team. Now the Iowa Hawkeyes — with the principles of Cole, Gatens, and May in mind — kick off the Big Dance against a Volunteers team that has won five of its last six games.
“This is a great accomplishment,” McCaffery said. “I’m thrilled for our seniors and I’m excited about the opportunity.”