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Am I getting bolder yet?
Last year Matt Gatens (34.6 MIN, 15.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 41.0 3P percentage) was the only member of the Hawkeyes named to one of the three All-Big Ten Teams.
This was almost a slap in the face to the senior guard and the number of us who watched him gracefully will Iowa into big, late season wins (did the voters forget his 33-point performance against Wisconsin at home on February 23rd?).
This year, don't expect the same.
First, Aaron White (23.8 MIN, 11.1 PPG, 5.7 APG, 50.4 FG%), who was named the 15th-best freshman in the country by ESPN.com, will go from the All-Freshman team to the First Team. He came on well in his first year of college basketball and was absolutely dominating his matchups towards the end of the season. His post moves have been deemed NBA worthy, and it looks like he will avoid all signs of a sophomore slump after his dominating summer in Iowa's Prime Time League (28.2 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 2.3 APG).
White has First Team written all over him.
Then we have the junior point guard/shooting guard/small forward/brain surgeon/rocket scientist/team bus driver/Top Chef/America's Next Top Model/possible NBA draft pick—Roy Devyn Marble.
Marble did EVERYTHING McCaffery could ask for last season and then some. When Iowa needed a guy to penetrate the lane to make the defense collapse? They had Devyn.
When McCaffery needed a guy to hit a clutch runner late in the game while Matt Gatens got harassed physically at half court? He had Devyn.
When Windstar needed someone to drive the team bus through a snow storm up to Minnesota? They called Devyn.
In all seriousness, Marble was a man with many hats last season. But what was most encouraging for the young utility player was that he came on strong late. Marble scored in double figures 23 times in 2011-12; 15 of them came in the Hawkeyes' last 18 games. That includes the best performance he has had as a Hawkeye—31 points on 7-of-8 shooting from three-point range, five rebounds and five assists—during Iowa's loss in the second round NIT game at Oregon.
Welcome to the Second Team Roy-Dev.
Last but not least we have future third teamer, Eric May.
By most accounts, Melsahn Basabe had a down year in 2011-2012. He put on muscle mass before the start of the season and looked out of shape running the court. Once he dropped the extra poundage, Basabe lost minutes to White and McCabe. Basabe was extremely erratic offensively and had every reason to sit in the corner and sulk.
But the "King Slime" made the most of his situation and time on the court, seemingly finding his role as a defensive stopper and energy booster—blocking 36 shots on the season, including 15 in the last seven games.
My hope is Basabe took this offseason to sure up his offensive capabilities rather than strictly getting stronger. He is athletic enough to compete with the best post players in the B1G and can surely become the best player on McCaffery's roster not named White.
Let's just hope 2011-12 was strictly an outlier and 2012-13 brings the real Slime back to light.