NORTH LIBERTY — The off-season was over before nearly began for Iowa’s Aaron White and Devyn Marble.
The two upperclassmen ended their basketball season on April 4 and now have reverted to regular-season mode. The duo are among 26 players vying for 12 slots on the United States’ world university games roster. Tryouts begin Monday, and games are held July 7 through July 16 in Kazan, Russia.
Five other Big Ten players join Marble and White in competition. They include Andre Hollins (Minnesota). Yogi Ferrell (Indiana), Will Sheehey (Indiana), Adreian Payne (Michigan State) and A.J. Hammons (Purdue).
“I want to make it; that’s the first thing,” said White, an incoming junior forward. “It’s not just an invite. It’s not just that I’m excited to go down there and lace up some shoes and run around with some of the top players. I want to make the team and just kind of assert myself as one of the top players in the country, and I think I can do that.”
Marble called the invitation “a tremendous opportunity.”
“It would mean a lot (to make the team),” said Marble, who will be a senior this fall. “That’s the goal. Being able to go and play for a gold medal, I don’t think too many people can say they’ve done that. To actually go and get one would be even better. I’m definitely not going to take this opportunity for granted.”
Marble, a 6-foot-6 guard, was the first Hawkeye to score more than 1,100 points, 350 rebounds and 275 assists before his senior year. Marble led Iowa in scoring (15.0), assists (3.0), free-throw percentage (.810), and 3-pointers (49-of-150). He was one of only three Big Ten players (Michigan’s Trey Burke, Penn State’s D.J. Newbill) to average 15 points and three assists a game last season. He was a third-team all-Big Ten selection.
White (6-8) was named third-team all-Big Ten and led Iowa in rebounding (6.2), the first Hawkeye to lead the team in rebounding as a freshman and sophomore since Michael Payne in 1981-82. He ranked second on the team in scoring (12.8) and steals (41). White made (193) and attempted (258) the most free throws of any sophomore in school history. In two seasons, White has combined for 877 career points.
“It’s kind of a challenge for me to put myself with the top players in the country,” White said. “I’ve had a decent two years here. My name has been on a couple lists as one of the top players in the conference. But it’s time to make that next step to be one of the top players in the country. That’s kind of how I view this tryout is, and that’s how I view that invitation to go down there.”
Davidson Coach Bob McKillop is the team’s head coach, and he’s assisted by Michigan’s John Beilein and South Carolina’s Frank Martin. Marble said having Beilein as an assistant coach be an asset for himself, White and the other Big Ten players.
“He knows what we bring to the table,” Marble said. “He’s seen us throughout the conference playing and stuff like that. A guy that recruited me, so he knows even more about me. I’m excited to learn from the other guys on the coaching staff like Coach Martin and Coach McKillop. I think it should be an exciting opportunity.”
The USA has drawn preliminary round Group C for the 2013 World University Games men’s basketball competition, along with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden and United Arab Emirates. Playing in Group A are Estonia, Germany, Oman, Russia, Ukraine and South Korea. Playing in Group B are Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Philippines, Romania and Serbia. Group D includes Brazil, Chile, China, Finland, Lithuania and Norway.
The USA will take on United Arab Emirates at 6:30 p.m. (times listed are local, Kazan, Russia, is +8 hours from ET) on July 7; followed by Czech Republic at 1 p.m. on July 8; and Sweden at 9 p.m. on July 10; Australia at 6:30 p.m. on July 11; and Canada at 1 p.m. on July 12.
Eric Atkins G 6-2 182 2014 Notre Dame
Markel Brown G 6-3 190 2014 Oklahoma State
Deonte Burton G 6-1 190 2014 Nevada
Bryce Cotton G 6-1 165 2014 Providence
Spencer Dinwiddie G 6-6 200 2015 Colorado
Yogi Ferrell G 6-0 178 2016 Indiana
Davante Gardner C 6-8 290 2014 Marquette
Treveon Graham F 6-5 215 2015 Virginia Commonwealth
Jerian Grant G 6-5 202 2014 Notre Dame
PJ Hairston F 6-5 220 2015 North Carolina
AJ Hammons C 7-0 280 2016 Purdue
Luke Hancock F 6-6 200 2014 Louisville
Tyler Haws G 6-5 200 2015 BYU
Andre Hollins G 6-1 200 2015 Minnesota
Rodney Hood F 6-8 210 2015 Duke
Josh Huestis F 6-7 230 2014 Stanford
Cory Jefferson C 6-9 210 2015 Baylor
Sean Kilpatrick G 6-4 221 2014 Cincinnati
Alex Kirk C 7-0 250 2015 New Mexico
Devyn Marble F 6-6 194 2014 Iowa
Doug McDermott F 6-8 225 2014 Creighton
Adreian Payne F 6-10 240 2014 Michigan State
Chasson Randle G 6-1 180 2015 Stanford
Will Sheehey F 6-7 200 2014 Indiana
Aaron White C 6-8 218 2015 Iowa
Kendall Williams G 6-4 185 2014 New Mexico
Head Coach: Bob McKillop, Davidson College Assistant Coach: John Beilein, University of Michigan
Assistant Coach: Frank Martin, Univ. of South Carolina Court Coach: Tad Boyle, University of Colorado
Court Coach: Jim Kessler, Grace College (NAIA) Court Coach: Matt Matheny, Elon UniversityAthletic Trainer: Ray Beltz, Davidson College