Marshall Plumlee: It is. One school that's been putting a lot of effort into me and my family has been Wisconsin. I've had the opportunity to speak with both Coach Ryan and the assistant coaches there several times. There's a great deal of familiarity with them now, especially since I have a lot of family up in that area. They have been making a great deal of progress both with me and also on the court, and they are a fun team to watch—Coach Ryan makes that situation very attractive.
It sounds like you are making a pretty concerted effort to do your research on schools that may not be as close geographically.
It's pretty much whenever I have a shot to watch a game. I've watched Florida a good amount, Virginia, Duke, Wisconsin…I just try to watch as much as my busy schedule allows.
What were your thoughts on the Duke and Wisconsin game in Madison?
That was obviously very bittersweet for me, just because my brothers play for Duke and with Wisconsin doing such a good job at recruiting me -- it was pretty hard, but also fun to watch that game. It was a great victory for Wisconsin, but I also felt like Duke fought their hearts out in that game, it was just a really good college basketball game between two big-time teams.
You mentioned Virginia a bit earlier. Have you been able to follow their progress this year? It seems like they are the ACC's surprise team.
I've been pleasantly surprised and also very impressed with what Coach Bennett is doing with that team. Having had the opportunity to meet him and speak with him and his staff on the phone, I knew that he was a great coach and that his team was on the rise.
There's watching a game and then there's analyzing teams. It seems like a recruit would do the latter. As a recruit what do you look for when you're watching a game on TV?
One of the things I try to watch for is if can I picture myself in the type of offense they are running. I mean, there is no perfect system. Every player, especially big men have to adjust since each school uses their big men in a different way. When I watch a team like Michigan, their big men are much more on the ball and you have to be versatile and be able to go inside out, same with Wisconsin and also Duke does that, but then when I watch a team like UVA, their bigs are used a lot more down low. I just try to identify what they like to do and then see if I can picture myself doing that.
When it comes to the recruiting process are you reaching out to the coaches and initiating contact or are you content to just use the monthly phone call allowance?
That's something that me and my dad do try to make it a point: to call other schools, especially when I'm looking to talk about different things from a recruiting perspective. I don't do it a lot, a lot of times the one phone call a month is good, but there are definitely schools that I contact to talk about different things.
I've called coaches like Coach Donovan at Florida, or Coach K at Duke or Coach Ryan at Wisconsin, but I talk with them about different stuff, it just depends on what's on my mind. With Coach Donovan, I talk with him about the pressures of the recruiting world, and he tells me to just be true to myself, and no matter who I choose to go with, even if it's not Florida, he just tells me to be myself.
With Coach K, I'm a lot more familiar with the program since I've been on campus, I've worked out with my brothers in the great facilities they have, so when Coach K and Coach Collins and I talk, it's more so about the inner workings of Duke, like what is life like for the players, what are the demands and opportunities the players face, what's campus life like, stuff like that.
With the obvious connection to Duke, it's logical to ask some questions about your brothers there. They, like the team, seem to have gone through various ups and downs this year. When you see that, what's going through your mind?
I think my brothers are doing great. I know they have had some rough games here and there, and with Mason's injury, it's been important for them to keep fighting through. We know that in the long run adversity is a good thing, and nothing is keeping them down. It's just a matter of knowing what they are capable of, gaining confidence and continuing to develop. We're sure they are going to have more opportunities, they just need to keep working and they will keep gaining more and more confidence, as will the team.
Are they talking with you much about recruiting and Duke?
We don't talk as much about recruiting, they just tell me to keep working on my game, keep developing and I'll be able to contribute the way I'm hoping to when I get to college.
With your propensity to analyze the games you're seeing with your dad, what's your scouting report on how your brothers are being utilized at Duke this season?
We think they are being developed in a good way. Obviously the team will continue to gain confidence with them as they continue to have good games and have opportunities to show what they are capable of on the court, but both my dad and I do think that my brothers have a lot of potential and are gradually utilizing and developing that talent with the help of the coaching staff. Especially with Miles, you know, he's an inside guy, and he's got some good athleticism, it's neat seeing him matching up against the other team's best post players.
As you begin to really see recruiting ramp up, what factors do you use to evaluate the various programs?
I am paying close attention to is how the coaches are conducting themselves with me and my family. how are they going about the recruiting process? I'm fortunate to have a lot of schools recruiting me that are doing things the right way, but that is one area along with others where schools could eliminate themselves as time goes on. To me, some of the schools on my list are more in a rebuilding mode than others, but a big thing to me is just the timing of everything. I'm looking at the recruits that schools are bringing in both before me, in my class and also above me. Are they bringing in a bunch of guards and or bigs? It's possible I could not mesh well with the type of recruits they are bringing in, and as important as coaching is, I really need to look at the personnel they are bringing in and will have when I get to their program. That's a big deal to me.
So would you rather play for a team with a stable of big guys where you can contribute inside and out or do you prefer a place with really great guards?
It's really important that I play with a really great point guard, one who can create for his teammates. For me, I want to bring my size and skill to a front court and, if a school is recruiting other bigs, it's not a big deal to me. If schools are recruiting another big, it's just something I need to prove, that I can be a contributor no matter the situation. Watching my brothers, it's obvious that playing with other bigs can be a real help to all the bigs for a team, so, it doesn't matter to me if they are recruiting bigs, it's more important that I feel like I'm a good fit for the personnel that a team has.
Your high school team has been selected to play on ESPN in April. Is playing on TV a big deal for you?
That's an incredible honor for sure. To be selected to play with some other really great teams on ESPN is a great opportunity. We're looking forward to it as a team, but by the same token, it's much more important to us that we keep playing well now as we strive to win our state championship. When I think about college, it's not a super huge deal when it comes to playing on TV -- that's icing on the cake, I'm more looking to be a part of a special program, one where we compete to win every night and compete to win the national championship.
What kind of help have your high school coaches and parents provided with the recruiting process?
I would be in way over my head if it wasn't for Coach Gaines and also my parents. They all give me great insight on what I should be looking at when it comes to college. I'm really thankful for Coach Gaines and his time with the recruiting process. He's a really busy coach and he still goes above and beyond to help me and my family go through this process.
My parents, there are a few differences in what they emphasize with me, but they both want what's best for me when it comes to college. My mom is much more focused on the academic side of things, making sure I'm prepared in the classroom to go to college, whereas my dad is very particular about the staffs, and just what kind of situation is going to be there for me with whatever program I go to. They all just tell me to look at the full picture, and make sure I make the right decision for me, but I'm thankful for their insight, I do trust my parents and my coach a great deal.