Gators Giving Plumlee Something to Ponder

It isn't going to be easy, but the Florida Gators have their sites set on one of the top centers in all of high school basketball. Marshall Plumlee is the No. 5 rated center prospect in the 2011 class according to and will be recruited by every major basketball program. Plumlee is a little different though in that he has two brothers currently playing for the reigning national champs.

Marshall Plumlee is a cerebral player that uses his great size (6-11.5, 200) and surprising athleticism for that size to make a name for himself on the basketball court. The talent he possesses keeps him busy over the summer as he travels around playing in basketball tournaments, trying to make himself even better.

"Las Vegas this weekend, then next weekend I am going to the Bob Gibbons tournament here in North Carolina," he said Thursday night seemingly catching his breath after just finishing another tournament over the weekend. "They really keep me busy, I have to fight for the exit rows (on airplanes) and spend a lot of time in airports."

He has seven or eight events scheduled already for the summer, but their could be more on tap if he does as well as expected.

"Depending on how well I do at these events I can potentially be invited to more," he said. "It is just a lot of opportunities and this is a premiere time for me to learn and get better with the gifts I have been given.

Ever the modest one, Plumlee has in mind a great deal of things he would like to accomplish over the summer and beyond that he thinks will make him a better basketball player.

"There is a long grocery list of things I can do to get better," he said with his modest tone. "If I had to pick a few main things I need to be more of a prolific scorer, be more comfortable on the offensive end of the floor with my moves, and more importantly take my time when I catch the ball in the post...I tend to rush myself.

"I need to continue to work on athleticism as far as gaining weight in the weight room, jump a little higher, get a little stronger and a little quicker. A lot of things go without being said like working on rebounding and defense."

Plumlee has an unusually high motor on the court, especially with all of that long body he hauls up and down the floor during a game. As mentioned above, offensively, he believes he rushes things a little trying to use that motor and his talents to beat his opponent, rather than using his basketball smarts.

"My problem is I enjoy playing with a lot of energy and try to make an impact on the game whenever I am out there," Plumlee said with a bit of annoyance in his voice. "Defensively it can work to be at a frenetic pace, but at the offensive end I have a bad habit of working at that frenetic pace and getting a little out of control and off-balance. I have a number of people that work with me and try to make me better that agree I don't have to go as fast on the offensive end. It is just something I need to work on."

The cerebral part of the game is something he feels he can be particularly better at on offense and it is easy to see with the type of scholastic program Plumlee is on these days. A once tried and true future physician, he now has decided to rethink that idea after a year taking classes that convinced him he didn't want to be in the medical field.

"This junior year was particularly tough, some of my classes were a little tougher than I anticipated," he said. "All in all I try to keep it all A's and enjoy the subjects I'm learning.

"I thought I had a good idea (of a major) and I wanted to get into something regarding medicine, but its always changing. I find new things that interest me but the AP chemistry course was good but it showed me what I would be doing if I did go into something in medicine. All it taught me is I really don't know and I will just keep looking for something I really enjoy."

The advanced studies certainly allow you to see what a student Plumlee is, but basketball will certainly play a very important part in his collegiate decision. With offers from everywhere under the sun, Plumlee says he isn't ready yet to narrow a list down and knows when that time comes it will be very hard for the coaches that are recruiting him at the schools he is looking at.

"With my family I am starting to get a feel for the schools I am comfortable with," he said. "I don't have an official narrowed down list. I have enjoyed relationships I have built with coaches from different programs and its going to be a tough decision. The recruiting process has been very enjoyable and each program has done a classy job with how they are recruiting me."

Heavy on his mind a lot lately is Duke. The reigning national champions in college basketball is also home to his two brothers Miles Plumlee and Mason Plumlee. The Blue devil program certainly has a lot more to offer than most, especially for the third of three very talented brothers.

"Early this fall Duke offered me a scholarship which is something I have been thinking about a lot lately," Plumlee said. "As of late I haven't had any contact with the coaches for a while now. I just had a talk with my brothers and it really is a family decision and I like to ask them their unbiased opinion and they give it to me as far as what they think is best for me."

The older brother, Miles, seems to be someone that Marshall is leaning on a little more to help. Miles has really benefited form his time at Duke.

"Miles having been there a few years now, he really had some positive things to tell me in the sense that he feels strongly, and I feel strongly, having watching him progress....they made him push and a better player. As a freshman he didn't play a lot, but they worked with him and he worked a lot. He couldn't be happier this past year and he is appreciating more of what Duke has done for him."

With that much to play behind the eight ball, it would seem strange that any other school could make a dent for Plumlee's services. But, one school that seemingly has done just that is the Florida Gators. Billy Donovan and the Gators have two national championships to show off in the last four years and the team and former players seem to have a bond that Plumlee has taken great notice in when he visited.

"Definitely (interested in Florida), they are school that was recruiting me early on," Plumlee said when asked about interest in the Gators. "I have really enjoyed the contact I have had from their coaches and getting to know them, especially Coach Donovan. I had a chance to come down to the Florida Elite Camp and visit with them and former players that are in the NBA. That was a special experience and I don't think that could have gone any better and let me know that Florida is a place that I should seriously consider."

Plumlee says he has a great relationship with the Florida coaches and talks frequently with Florida's newest assistant coach.

"Specifically Coach Richard Pitino is the guy I have the most contact with," he said. "He is a great guy and I enjoy talking with (him)...He is a great guy and very easy to talk to. I enjoy my relationship with him and can talk with him just about anything. He is very understanding and I have enjoyed really getting to talk to him."

He learns a lot from Coach Donovan when they get on the phone.

"From time to time I talk to Coach Donovan and enjoy those talks because he is a man I really respect with all his accomplishments and accolades and having played professional basketball himself," he said. "He is a wealth of basketball knowledge."

As for what teams see in him, besides what has already been talked about? Plumlee believes his defensively play is why teams like Florida and Duke are clamoring to add him to their roster for the 2011-2012 season.

"I like to pride myself as a good defender in the sense I talk on defense and with help side defense and feeling like part of the team," he said. "I work hard at running the floor and just being active, so when I get in a chance to get in the game I can impact it the best way I know how."

With all of that, a decision will have to be made at some point and his family will help him make that decision which will be based a lot on comfort and his thought process on that program's ability to make him a better player.

"It's going to be about what is best for me, whether that is playing with my brothers at Duke or finding my own way," he said. "I just want a situation that I can go somewhere and enjoy the people I'm around, the coaches and players, for four years...a college I'd like to come back to and a place I know I will go and get better. It will be tough because all of these places will be hard to turn down in those regards.

"I definitely want a place that will take advantage of the skills I have now and also build on that and expand my game. You have to have that highest level (professional basketball) in the back of your mind. There is so much to learn, but you want to go somewhere that they will develop you for each of the four years."

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