Waiting Not Necessarily Easy for Plumlee

Indiana first offered a scholarship to '09 power forward Mason Plumlee a year ago following his performance at the Hoosiers' Elite Camp. Plumlee talks about the Hoosiers, his recruitment, and what he learned from his most recent trip to Bloomington...

Patience didn't come easily for Mason Plumlee.

When the 6-9, 210-pound junior-to-be from Arden (N.C.) Christ School finished up at IU's Elite Camp last summer, IU Coach Kelvin Sampson had a surprise for him.

His first scholarship offer.

"It caught me by surprise more than anything," said Plumlee, a Warsaw, Ind., native who had just completed his freshman year of high school. "Normally, your first offer doesn't come from a big powerhouse like IU."

With that offer in hand, Plumlee admits it wasn't necessarily easy to sit back and see what else would unfold.

"It's definitely tempting to jump at it," Plumlee said. "It's hard to take your time when someone like Coach Sampson offers you so early. But I figured I'd wait and see, keep an open mind, and see what everyone else has to offer for me and decide later."

While Indiana remains extremely high on Plumlee's list, it has been joined by a handful of other prominent schools that have since offered scholarships. Plumlee said he's also been offered by Wake Forest, Georgetown, Miami (Fla.) and most recently Notre Dame, and he's also hearing from North Carolina, North Carolina State, Michigan and Stanford, among others.

Those programs are seeing what IU first noticed a year ago – a skilled big man who can score inside and out. That's why he's a four-star recruit in the '09 class according to Scout.com, someone who figures to have his national ranking rise over the next two years.

While they haven't offered yet, Stanford is a program to keep an eye on since Mason's older brother, Miles, is a 2008 recruit who will play for the Cardinal beginning in the 2008-09 season.

"I'll watch how he does his freshman year, see how he likes it, what he thinks about the school," Mason said. "When it comes time to make my decision, I'll see what he thinks of Stanford and if he's enjoyed it or not. But I'm planning on making my own decision."

There's certainly a draw to play with his brother, but IU has its own appeal. Besides the opportunity to play in the Big Ten for a program that appears to be re-establishing itself as one of the league's best, it would also give him a chance to return to the Hoosier state and play in front of a lot of familiar faces.

"It would definitely be fun to play in front of people that I've known growing up and my family being able to make it to the games," Plumlee said. "Who wouldn't want to do that?"

He'll have that opportunity if he chooses to accept IU's scholarship offer. While he's still two years away from playing in college, IU has already seen more than enough to think he could be a big part of the program's future.

"Coach Sampson said he likes my feel for the game," Plumlee said. "He said I need to get stronger at finishing around the basket, but he likes how versatile I am and my passing ability. He said he sees me as a ‘face-up' 4."

Sampson has become well versed in Plumlee's abilities thanks to back-to-back appearances at IU's Elite Camp. Last year's trip resulted in his first scholarship offer, while this year's appearance offered Plumlee with an opportunity to test his skills against IU's current crop of players.

After shining while playing alongside Ray McCallum, Jr., in the Elite Camp, Plumlee was one of the campers selected to play in am All-Star game against members of IU's 2007-08 squad. It gave him a chance to match up with the likes of D.J. White, Eli Holman and DeAndre Thomas and gauge of exactly where he stacks up with current college players.

"It fun to see how you compare," Plumlee said. "It also shows you what you need to work on. Their players were playing at such a fast pace, faster than what we're used to. It shows the difference between how we play in high school and how they play in college."

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