CountDown to the “CountDown …” – Marshall Plumlee

This Article by Bermuda Bob

SDBB - 2014 Profiles - PlumTree #3 Collage

In 2011, Miles, Mason, and Marshall all donned Duke uniforms and it became the third time in college basketball history, and first time at Duke, that three (3) brothers were all playing for the same team. In recognition, I created the nick-name “PlumTree.”

So, Mason was “PlumTree” #1, Mason was “PlumTree” #2, and Marshall is #3.  It is in no way a slight or insult in any way, or to any of the guys.  I have the utmost respect for what they have achieved both on the Court and in the classroom.  They are a testament to their upbringing and family values instilled by Leslie, their Mom and Perky, their Dad.

Most folks do not know that there is a “PlumTree” #4, their baby sister, Madeline Lee Plumlee.  She is a 6’ standout VolleyBall star, who plays “Outside Hitter.” This fall, she enters Notre Dame.

Getting back to Marshall, his Freshman year, he was Red Shirted after playing in three (3) exhibition games in China, and CountDown to Craziness.  The idea was that  brothers #1 and #2 could handle the “bigs” assignment, so saving #3’s eligibility for down the road would benefit both Duke and #3.

When Marshall came back to his next year – academically a Sophomore – just before the teams’ first official practice, a Stress Fracture in his left foot was detected.   He was able to come back in December, but only saw limited action in 19 games for a total of 50 minutes.

#3’s performance last season – his Junior Academic year – got him into 30 games, logging 254 minutes. In those appearances, he demonstrated a new versatility.  He pulled down 65 Rebounds, 17 Blocks, and scoring 38 Points.  This was a very optimistic performance and a great surprise only dampened each and every time Coach K pulled him out, only to be marooned on the Bench.

Many times committed fans wondered out loud why #3 was not getting more floor time when each time he played, he excelled greatly.  I recall one game where he blocked a shot, controlled it, made a perfect outlet pass, and hustled the floor to be fed the ball for a thunderous dunk.  A “TV Time Out” ensued, and Marshall was rewarded with a seat back on the Bench … his former chair not yet having begun to cool.   Frustrated fans, like myself, yelled at their televisions in vain.  We lit up Twitter with the equivalent of raised arms, palms up asking the Nancy Kerrigan lament, “Why, Why, Why ???”

Then came, what traditionally minded fans like myself worry about, a Frosh being recruited BEHIND Marshall with the understanding that he – Jahil Okafor – has the presumptive edge as the Starting Center. It makes me wonder what #3 is thinking.

*  –  Was the handwriting on the wall already that Coach K did not have much faith  in his abilities ???

*  –  Would he EVER get the chance to prove why he was recruited ???

*  –  Should he consider transferring to another programme for more playing time as Mike “Silent G” Gbinije and Alex Murphy did when their hopes of significant playing time were dashed ???

One tradition that all the Plumlee gents brought to Duke was an emphasis on academics first and basketball second.  Each being afforded one of the finest educations in America.  So, to that end, it was clear that Marshall was staying for the long run.  I presume that since he has an extra left after this coming season – his academic Senior year – he will go to Graduate School at Duke as others before him have.

So, what reasonable expectations do we have for #3 this season ???

I honestly do not have a clue.  He gives Coach K an excellent option should Jahil Okafor find Foul trouble, or even be platooned with him in times of intense play.  Marshall, unlike his older brothers, is quite comfortable and effective in the traditional role of a back-to-the-basket post-up Center.

I still hold out hope that Marshall will get his time to shine and fulfill the reason for his recruitment. In the many videos and references I have seen of and about him, he seems like a great kid.  So, I’d love to seem him get that chance, and when it comes, I’ll be rooting loudly along with many other fans in great delight !!!

Rock On, Marshall !!!


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