Marshall Plumlee Checks In

Marshall Plumlee had a big week. Nationally televised games on ESPN and an invitation to the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago. After taking it all in, the seven foot Duke bound center chatted up TDD.

TDD: How has your senior season progressed?

Marshall Plumlee: I think we've gone through some ups and downs as a team, but I know we've got a great group of guys who have high character. We've got a rough idea of how seeding could work out and it's possible we could earn a first round bye in our playoffs. If we make it to state's, we might have a tough road ahead of us, but I know that our team will rise to the challenge.

Individually, how do you feel you've developed over the year?

I have a huge focus on trying to add weight and strength. It's going to play a huge role in me being effective in college. It's hard during the season to be in the weight room as much as I would like to be, so right now I'm at around 218 pounds. I know right when the season ends I'm going to be camping out in the weight room again. I'm working with Coach Stephens from Duke to have a tailor made program for me to get stronger and add functional strength because I recognize it's really important for my evolution as a player.

Christ School recently played Oak Hill Academy on ESPNU. What did you take away from playing such a strong team on national television?

For me, personally and for the coaches, it was the third time we had played Oak Hill, so the shock and awe wasn't there like it was when we first played them, but we did respect their talent and who they were as a team. We were very excited as a team to play a great team like Oak Hill and we were frustrated that we ended up not winning. It was a tremendous experience for us and for me personally, anytime you can play a team with that level of talent it's going to make you better as a player.

What did you learn about yourself in that matchup against such a physical and athletic frontline?

I think it reenforced to me how much attention I need to pay in the weight room. I know that it's a part of my growth as a player to better be able to play against players like that. I was also very confident in strides I felt like I was making during that game. I'm getting glimpses of what I can do and I'm working on my list every single day on how I can improve as a player so I can contribute when I get to Duke.

How did you feel getting to play in Cameron Indoor Stadium in front of your future coach, Coach K?

It was a great experience in so many ways. I mean, to get to play a quality team like that on National TV is a once in a lifetime experience for me as a high school player. I wish it could have resulted in a win for our team, but I was very thankful that I had the opportunity to play in front of Coach K and some Duke fans that were there.

Was it hard having to play against your future teammate Quinn Cook who was suiting up for Oak Hill?

Quinn has a great attitude, but to be honest, it was frustrating trying to figure out how to stop him. He's such a dynamic player. I know, for me, I am really looking forward to getting to play with him when we get to Duke. He makes so many plays for both himself and for his teammates, and he's just so talented and capable of being great. He just seems to be a great kid with a great attitude, you can tell his teammates like playing with him.

Did you have an opportunity to talk with Coach K or your brothers before or after the game?

I had an opportunity to talk with Coach K and my brothers after the game. They saw I was frustrated that we had lost the game, but they helped me focus on how I can improve from an experience like that. Coach K was extremely supportive of me, he said he can tell that I've been improving and he encouraged me to keep working hard. He felt like I'm getting a lot better as a basketball player and will continue to grow as a I keep working hard.

What was your reaction when you heard about the McDonald's All American nomination had come down for you?

It was just such a dream come true, you know, you work towards a goal of becoming the best player that you can be and it's such an honor and a privilege to have been named to that team. I know I'm going to be ready to work to get ready to go to Chicago and compete.

What's does the nomination mean to you?

What it says to me is that I tried really hard to be persistent in my work habits and I tried to keep a good attitude. When it got tough I just kept working hard, because I believed I would see success. I know I felt like I had made strides as a player and improved during the season and I wasn't sure if anybody had noticed, but I guess the voters did notice my City of Palms performance. I'm just so grateful for the opportunity to be nominated.

What was it like winning the Dunk Contest at the City of Palms? I bet you were joking with your brothers about winning that, right?

Definitely. Winning the Dunk Contest was a ton of fun. I was at practice with my teammates the day before and I was with Andy McMillan and we just dreamed up some crazy dunks and I went out to have fun the next day. It was an awesome experience and I was able to joke around with my brothers about winning it. The thing with my brothers is that they can do dunks that I can't even dream about, so they definitely tried to keep me in my place, but they were real happy for me.

What has Mason said to you about the McDonald's game experience?

The main thing is he wants me to just enjoy the experience, he recognizes that I worked very hard to earn that honor and he's excited I have the opportunity to play in that game.

Switching gears a bit, what are your thoughts on the media reports that a redshirt is being considered for you in your first year at Duke?

I have heard about that a little bit since this past weekend and with so many people in the media commenting on it, but nothing has been discussed with either the staff or my family in reference to taking a redshirt year. At the end of the day, I want to go to Duke and be a good teammate and I'm going to do what the coaches want me to do, I have a lot of faith and trust in my coaches.

Do you think you see more benefits to taking a redshirt year or do you think you see more benefits by not?

I think there are equal benefits to both. I know that my transition into college basketball is going to be heavily dependent on my physical growth and I know that a redshirt year would benefit me strength wise to better be able to compete in the ACC. That being said, if I'm on track and if my strength coach and the coaching staff at Duke feel like I'm on track and they feel that I'm making strides in my weight and strength, then a redshirt year might not be needed.

Did you get to attend the Duke UNC game last week?

I was really sad that I did not get a chance to attend the game, I had a lot of school work to attend to, but I did watch the game on TV. Duke really rallied together as a team, and they had a great comeback in the second half. They fought through adversity as a team and it was awesome seeing them take the win in the second half.

How have you seen your brothers improve this year?

I am just so proud of both Miles and Mason. They are both so focused on consistently getting better and on playing harder to help the team win. They've been making a lot of plays for their team and I know that their rebounding and defense has been helpful to the team.

What was the transition like for them in your eyes from playing with Kyrie Irving to not being able to play with him due to his injury?

The thing with Kyrie is that he has such great character and talent and he's giving strong moral support to his teammates every single day. Even if he can't play on the court with them. I think all the guys had to change their games when Kyrie went out with his injury and the guys all seemed to make a good transition.

The media has made quite a point that your your brothers' game may miss him the most. How do you react to those kinds of comments?

I think with all three of us, we are very confident in the plans the Duke staff has for each of us. What the media says truly does not bother us, and we tend to be very focused on working hard on our games so we can help the team win.

Wrapping up, can you share what you know about Duke's two most recent commits, Alex Murphy and Rasheed Sulaimon?

I'm very familiar with Alex as I've played against him around the AAU circuit quite a few times and I'm very excited that he's a part of the Duke family now. He's a great player and he comes from a great family as well. With Rasheed, I have not actually watched him play so I'm not as familiar with him, but I have great faith in the Duke staff that they are only bringing in good players and people, so I'm looking forward to learning more about him and also having him as a future teammate.

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