When Miles Plumlee talked to us following his unofficial visit to Stanford the first weekend of June, he expressed his hope that he could make his college commitment before the busy and crazy July evaluation period began. The 6'9" Arden (N.C.) Christ School forward however was realistic that he would probably have to hold off until the end of the summer. He and his family had a number of unofficial visits ahead to explore the growing list of schools who had tendered him scholarship offers.
Moreover, Plumlee's stock was rapidly on the rise this spring and summer, including the very recent addition of high interest from Thad Matta and Ohio State. Following the decommitment of four-star forward Luke Babbitt, the Buckeyes implored the Indiana native to visit Columbus, and Plumlee tentatively scheduled to do so on the drive home to Winona Lake (Ind.) following this week's NBA Players Association Camp in Charlottesville (Va.).
All of this made it all the more surprising when Plumlee pulled the trigger late last night with a verbal commitment to Trent Johnson and the Cardinal.
"I verbaled. I called Coach Johnson and told him I'm coming. It's official," says a happy Plumlee. "I think he was just in disbelief. He was pretty excited. It makes me feel good that Coach is excited to have me come. I think I made the right decision."
"I guess I've known since I visited there, but it took me a while to realize that there is nothing better than Stanford for me," the recruit continues. "It's a perfect fit for me, and I know I'm going to love it there. I called him up tonight and just wanted to bring everything to an end, so that I can enjoy my summer."
Plumlee committed to Stanford over a big in-state offer from Indiana, in addition to offers from Virginia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Miami (Fla.), Xavier, Penn State and Northwestern. Not only was the pressure of recruiting during the July evaluation period looming on the horizon for the highly coveted forward, but he also had more on his plate the next week-plus he decided to short-circuit with his Stanford commitment Thursday night.
"There were a few things coming up at the end of this month," Plumlee explains. I was looking at the schedule, and it was getting kind of hectic. There seemed to be a lot of stuff I was going to be doing that wasn't really necessary since in my mind I already knew that Stanford was where I was going to make my decision anyways."
"It was nice - Ohio State just started showing interest in me. They want me to come visit," he adds. "I was planning on visiting Northwestern and going back down to Vandy one more time. But I didn't think any of that was going to change my mind at all. I'm just excited to be done with everything."
It is an upset victory for the Cardinal to pull Plumlee from all the way across the country, though this is a true student-athlete. He recently concluded his junior year at the Christ School, with a course load that includes AP physics, AP English and a handful of honors courses. Plumlee carries a cumulative GPA just a shade under a 4.0 and is one hombre serious about his education.
"There were a few specific things I was looking for," he explains of his college selection. "I want to go to a strong academic school, and Stanford is the top in the nation. I also know that I want to major in engineering, and that was a big deal for me. They are a school that can provide that. In terms of athletics, I want to compete at the highest level. Stanford is right there, playing in the Pac-10 and competing against the best teams in the nation."
"I also want to play for a coach I really like. Coach Johnson made a great impression on me, and I know it will be a great thing going there and playing for him," Plumlee adds. "I wanted to really go to a school that wanted to utilize me for what I can be. The style of play and where I play at is a big deal for me, and I know that Coach Johnson will push me to be the best player that I can be. I think he sees the potential that I have, and he wants to play me in the right position. That will give me the best chance to play at the next level."
At 6'9" out of shoes and possibly still growing, Plumlee could be easily pegged as a low post player. He however excels with his perimeter skills, which he feels will be utilized by Trent Johnson and the Cardinal.
"As I have grown up as a player, I have tried to work on everything in my game," the combo forward offers. "I grew up as a point guard, and now I'm a big guy. I try to work on all the skill sets. It's my goal to play a 'three.' I want to be a wing forward primarily. I know that I have a lot of work to do, but I know that is one thing he saw in me from the get-go. I know that he is going to help me achieve that, and playing under him and the stuff he has planned is just going to be the best situation for me to play."
While he is excited about the relief that his college decision will bring the remainder of this summer, coming to grips with the finality of a verbal commitment took some time for Plumlee.
"It's been rolling around in my mind for a while," he says of his Stanford decision. "It was hard to come to terms and finally commit because this is a big decision to make in your life, and I realize that. It's hard to finally make that decision, but I've been talking to my parents a lot the last few days. We finally just decided it was time. I called Stanford tonight after our game and just let them know."
The pump was primed for Plumlee last week when he received the news that his Stanford admissions application had been accepted.
"I was at team camp in Raleigh," the recruit recalls. "We were playing at NC State with my high school team. I've been traveling so much that I forget the days, but I was eating dinner with my friends when I got a call from Coach Johnson letting me know that I've been accepted. That was almost as exciting as deciding to finally come."
What then prompted the 6'9" forward, Thursday evening after the second day of the intense NBAPA Camp, to pull the trigger with his Cardinal commitment?
"I didn't even know I was going to make this call this morning. I didn't even know at lunch today," Plumlee admits. "Jeremy Green is at camp here, and I actually talked to him yesterday. He is one of their top recruits. Since he hasn't been able to visit yet, I was talking to him about what was great about it. I think when I was talking to him, listening to myself talk made me realize a lot of the stuff I already knew. It just really hit me hard today, and I knew it was the place for me."
"I don't think Jeremy even knows yet," the commit continues. "At the time when I'm talking to people, I haven't really let them know where I'm leaning. But I was talking to him, and told him they're my number one choice. Stanford is where I'm pretty sure I'm going to go. But I didn't hint at this commitment. I actually told him I was probably going to wait until the end of the summer. I just decided to do it tonight, so tomorrow I'm going to let him know."
Plumlee's next order of business is to bring the 6'4" Austin (Tex.) guard on board with this Cardinal recruiting class, though he knows the sell will not be too difficult.
"I think he is already highly interested," says Plumlee. "From talking to him, I can tell that he can't wait to go out there and see it himself. He still has to be accepted. He told me that he sent in his application just a few days ago. But I'll be in touch with him tomorrow and definitely get his cell phone. I'll be trying to get him to come to Stanford as well."
Miles Plumlee joins 6'5" Delaware guard Jarrett Mann as commits in Stanford's Class of 2008. Mann and Green already share a close relationship, which points to a probably pledge from Green if and when his admissions application is excepted. The Cardinal have as many as four scholarships to give this year, and the fourth could come down to 6'11" St. Louis (Mo.) center John Brandenburg and 6'0" Portland (Ore.) point guard Garrett Sim. The former earlier this week had his application accepted at Stanford, while the latter is visiting The Farm unofficially this weekend and will be eagerly picking up the application packet.
Cardinal recruiting is off to the races this summer, and the Class of '08 could easily be concluded before the end of this summer. That turns the attention of the coaching staff, and of our reporting, to the nation's top underclassmen as Stanford digs into its Class of 2009 and 2010 targets. Stay tuned throughout the summer and into the fall as these stories unfold and Cardinal recruiting continues its roll.
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