In what amounts to little over a month of heavy recruitment, the Blue Devils made up considerable ground on programs coast to coast and secured a commitment from a steady rising big man in the junior class.
Duke saw Plumlee (Scout.com No. 39) play for the first time in Greensboro at the MLK Classic in January. Since that game – a close loss to Oak Hill – the Blue Devils strapped a suffocating full court press on Plumlee. The recruitment culminated with a visit by his family and coach to Durham last weekend mere hours after helping Christ School win its second consecutive title.
In a little over 5 weeks, the Devils secured a key commitment from a highly regarded frontcourt target. "It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be," Plumlee said of the speedy process. "Coach K spent a lot of time with me at the Maryland game and my parents came down. They got to know Coach K well and met him in person. We just thought it was the best fit. I visited everywhere else that I wanted (to see)."
The junior averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a contest. Both parents are exceptionally tall and there's a history of late bloomers in the family. Miles Plumlee, a Stanford signee and Top 100 prospect, didn't hit his stride until last spring.
In regards to the Blue Devils, Christ School coach David Gaines felt Krzyzewski was effusive in his praise and vision for Plumlee. "From being up there with him and having come down (to Arden), I spent almost an hour with Coach K and Coach Collins," Gaines said. "It came through loud and clear to me how special a player they think he can be. Their style, he's a perfect fit in my opinion and Coach K has been consistent with that praise the last 2 ½ weeks."
Last Friday, in a state semifinal game with Duke in the crowd and his brother on the mend, Plumlee showed the package. Passing from the high post and dominating the glass helped Christ School earn the finals berth. Prior to the season, Gaines shared a list of improvements he wanted the junior to make.
"First of all, I've never coached a more competitive kid than Mason. He takes the instruction that I give him very well. When he came back to school we talked about improving defense, becoming a better rebounder and going back to last spring we talked about becoming more consistent with his jump shot.
"He made his mind up that he was going to rebound and he averaged 12. His defense, that's the ultimate compliment to what he's achieved here. His jump shot is better."
Duke spent the better part of this season evaluating and recruiting frontcourt players. When it made the decision to pursue Plumlee in January there was no turning back and the plan to land him was executed quickly.
"Coach K said that he sees me being a really good player there. He said it'll be a lot of work but he thinks that I'm going to be able to come in and contribute right away. He thinks it's a really good fit."
Plumlee Pipeline -- With Mason now on board with Duke and Miles headed to Stanford, the Midwestern family has both coasts covered. If you're a Midwest school feeling left out, don't fret. Marshall Plumlee, a freshman at Christ School who is taller than his brothers at the same stage, is on the board. Marshall swung between JV and varsity this season and projects to be a strong inside player from the Class of 2011.