Iowa’s plan to retire Luka Garza’s jersey No. 55 after the season has drawn a complaint from the family of the late Hawkeyes legend Roy Marble.
Garza, a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year who joined Marble as the only other Iowa player to score 2,000 points in their collegiate careers, was told his number would be retired after his final regular-season game Sunday. Iowa won, 77-73.
Marble led Iowa to its only 30-win season in school history and the NCAA regional final in 1987. He is considered to be one of the best Iowa basketball players ever and when word came down that Garza’s number would be retired, his family was not happy as his No. 23 hasn’t been retired.
Marble’s son, Devyn Marble, vowed Monday he would never watch another Iowa game.
“I’ll never watch another iowa game in my life with the amount of disrespect that school has shown me and my family. Love the fans but I’m in no way affiliated or connected to the university,” he tweeted.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta apologized to the Marble family.
“We have learned since Sunday that Roy Marble’s family was hurt and feeling disrespected since that day,” Barta said. “I just want to take a moment and share that absolutely that disrespect was unintentional and to publicly apologize for that.”
Barta became the Iowa athletic director in 2006 and has said that Roy Marble, Murray Wier and Chuck Darling are deserving of having their numbers retired but did not meet the criteria.
In this March 24, 1988, file photo, Iowa’s Roy Marble dunks during practice at the West Regionals of the NCAA college basketball tournament in Seattle. Iowa athletic director Gary Barta apologized to the family of Hawkeyes basketball great Roy Marble on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 for any hard feelings they have over the retirement of star player Luka Garza’s No. 55 jersey. (AP Photo/Gary Stewart)
He didn’t say what the criteria were but the three were planned to memorialized at the Carver Hawkeye Arena concourse.
“Iowa Athletics, in conjunction with the Iowa Varsity Club, have had different criteria over the years involving accomplishments, All-America recognition, individual awards, etc.,” the athletics department said in a statement. “Gary Barta and Iowa administration have been working towards a set of criteria that is more streamlined, in which exact awards and recognition are included. The top two priorities are individual National Player of the Year recognition, and consensus All-America recognition. Gary and Iowa administration will continue to work towards a more direct list of criteria that will be used moving forward.”
Marble died in 2015 after a battle with cancer. He was Iowa’s all-time leading scorer until Garza broke the record. He had a brief NBA career as well.