Mason Plumlee is ready to lead the Duke Blue Devils.
The 6’10” 235lbs senior knows the Blue Devils need him to lead the way offensively and the thought of being double-teamed isn’t keeping him awake at night.
“Our team knows it, and other teams know it,” Plumlee told Jeff Goodman of CBSsports.com. “I’d be shocked if teams don’t double-team me and, that’s fine because we have guys like Seth (Curry), Ryan (Kelly) and Rasheed (Sulaimon) that can make them pay.”
After putting up 7.2 points and 8.4 rebounds as a sophomore, coach Mike Krzyzewski began to build the 2011-12 season’s offence around Plumlee. Coach K would plan for an inside-out style that saw the ball go through Plumee. However, once Austin Rivers decided to attend Duke, plans quickly changed.
Plumlee put up 11.1 points and 9.2 rebounds as a junior, but with Rivers the offence’s first option the ball didn’t always find its way into the post. He struggled to find consistency on offence and as a result, saw his confidence affected at times.
The pressures to lead last season also took its toll on Plumlee after the departures of team leaders Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and John Scheyer . Plumlee couldn’t truly be the team leader with Rivers around. Rivers was always going to be a one and done, and was more concerned about the ‘me’ than the ‘we’. This year Plumlee not only returns more mature but also with a cast ready to follow him and much more interested in playing the team game than where they go in the draft.
Mason is now the eldest brother on the team after older brother Miles graduated last season and younger brother Marshall waits to play his first game for the Blue Devils. Mason has proven to be the most talented player in the family as his past two season averages far exceed Miles’ best season of 6.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in his senior year.
Mason Plumlee doesn’t want to just be the best player in his family, he wants to be the best player for Duke. He’s ready to be the number one option and when teams double-team him, is smart enough to know he has a strong supporting cast. He’s stronger physically and more importantly mentality. With the offensce running through him, Plumlee has the potential to put up big numbers. Don’t be surprised if he averages a double-double.
The Duke Blue Devils has found its leader and his name is Plumlee.