2009 Intro: Mason Plumlee

The big question surrounding the 2009 recruiting class and Duke has been the likely recipient of the fourth available scholarship. Three players have already been identified, and now it appears the fourth is quickly emerging as a viable option. Unlike the other three players, however, the Blue Devils coaching staff won't need to leave the state to recruit this 6'10 big forward.

With Greg Echenique, Kenny Boynton, and Leslie McDonald all firmly identified as offered targets of the Duke coaching staff, the most logical addition appears to be a versatile big forward. For the Blue Devils that player may turn out to be 6-foot-10, 210lbs Indiana native Mason Plumlee, who is currently playing at Christ School in Arden, N.C. While matching up against Oak Hill Academy this week in Greensboro N.C., Plumlee drew assistant coach Chris Collins - fueling speculation that Duke would be jumping into the recruiting fray.

"I saw that Coach Collins was at the game against Oak Hill, and Duke has been talking to my high school coach and my dad over the last week or so," said Plumlee. "They know they are getting in kind of late and they wanted to find out the best way to recruit me. After talking to my parents, they were able to really talk to my coach and start the process. I haven't had a chance to really talk to them personally yet, and everything I'm hearing from them is through my dad and my coach, but I am looking forward to finally talking to them."

Even though it's second hand to this point, the junior four star prospect says he likes what Duke has to say.

"They are very interested in me and want to take a chance to learn more about me. Being from Indiana, I didn't grow up a Duke fan, but it's kind of hard not to follow them really closely. Every time you turn on ESPN it seems like there's a Duke game on. And my parents knew Josh McRoberts' parents a little bit, so we got to see a lot of Duke back home. Having a school like Duke recruit me is pretty big, and since I'm not in a rush to make a quick decision, they really aren't all that late in starting."

The recruiting process is nothing new for Mason, who watched his older brother - 2008 four star power forward Mile Plumlee - recruited by some of the nation's best programs before ultimately deciding on Stanford. The experience figures to serve the younger Plumlee well.

"I was kind of a tag along with Miles while he was being recruited. I went on both his visits to Stanford and I went on his visits to Georgetown and Virginia. I got to see different schools and how different coaches reacted to him and our family."

Having seen the ins and outs of the process with Miles, did the elder Plumlee offer any fraternal advice?

"I learned a lot, especially the idea that it's a good idea to not commit on your visit. Miles told me that when he made his choice, it was because he had some time to come home from his visit and really let things process. Sometimes you hear about kids committing on a visit and making an emotionally charged decision. He said that he found the best thing to do is to come home and think through everything and then if you are sure and it's something your parents agree with, you're all set."

With his brother heading off to the Pac 10 this summer, has Mason thought about the possibility of joining him in another year?

"It's something I've thought about and it's a neat thought, but I can't really say that I'm sure that's what I want to do. In the end I'm going to look at the process and take his advice and make the best decision for me."

Currently holding offers from Texas, Stanford, Virginia, Michigan, Wake Forest, Georgetown, UCLA and Indiana, a focus on distance from home is "out the window" according Plumlee who currently attends boarding school in North Carolina.

"[Attending boarding school] has been really good for us. We're about a 12 hour drive from home right now, so it's not a big deal to look at schools from all over. If anything being at school has made us both closer to our parents."

After losing to Oak Hill, Christ School currently sits at 21-2 on the season, and will likely be favored in each of its remaining games this season. Winning out has become the team's new goal, even though some hard lessons were learned in the two defeats.

"In both losses we didn't do the things we needed to do win. I felt like we could and maybe should have won both, but if we shot poorly from the freethrow line and didn't get a good bounce here and there and those things add up. But we're focused on winning the rest of our games and winning the state title this year. From there I am hoping to come out and have a big Spring AAU season."

"Last year I started kind of slow and didn't really show what I could do. Since then I've really re-dedicated myself to doing te things that make a big guy successful. I'm going inside and rebounding more than I used to. Before this season I really didn't do the work in the paint that I needed to. I didn't go inside and bang with a guy who had some weight on me. Both my AAU and school coach worked with me and I got on a great strength program that helped me get better in that area. Now that I am doing those things, it has really opened a lot more of the game up to me."

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