ACC Basketball: Why Duke's Mason Plumlee Will Win Conference Player Of The Year

By Michael Roberts
Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Duke Blue Devils’ Mason Plumlee is going to be the fourth senior in a row to be named ACC player of the year.

Plumlee will also be the second straight middle brother to win the award following Tyler Zeller from a year ago.

The 6-foot-10, 235lbs center has double-digit potential any given night. He averaged 11.1 points and 9.2 rebounds last year. Plumlee has great size for a potential NBA big man and knows how to play in the post. He has soft hands that allow him to finish around the rim with ease, along with explosiveness that allows him to blow by his defender to get to the basket.  His leaping ability and toughness should translate to a solid rebounder at the next level, as well.

Plumlee is set to become the leader and foundation on offense and defense for the 2012-13 Duke Blue Devils. The center is relentless on the court and never stops hustling. His double-double games were in the double digits last year. Even in Duke’s first round loss in the NCAA Tournament, it wasn’t through a lack of effort on Plumlee’s part as he finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Duke had chemistry issues last year with a one dimensional offence that saw Austin Rivers have too much control. The offense is now going to run through Plumlee in the low post and it should surprise no one if he manages to average a double-double in his senior year.

Look for Duke to hover around the top of the ACC standings and look for Plumlee to be the major reason why. By doing so, Plumlee will have the edge over his competition and become the tenth senior to win the award in the past 15 years. Along with the eighth Blue Devil to be named ACC player of the year in the past twenty seasons joining names likes Grant Hill, Elton Brand and J.J. Redick.

Plumlee’s main competition include names such Michael Snaer, James Michael McAdoo, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie.

Snaer doesn’t have the support he did last year as the only returning starter for the Florida State Seminoles. Defenses will zone in on him and limit his production. He’ll be good but not conference player of the year good.

McAdoo is a wildcard as he can be anywhere from the best player in the country to a good piece of the puzzle. Chances are he’ll need time to find himself and come on as a much stronger player at the end of the year. If he takes too long finding himself, he won’t be in the discussion for ACC player of the year.

Brown and Leslie are the top duo of players on any team in the ACC and that’ll hurt them when it comes time to vote at the end of the year. They’ll have success and put up numbers but voters will question if its because they have each other to play with.

They’ll be viewed as a duo where as Plumlee will be viewed as the leader. Sure, he has plenty of talent to work with at Duke but he’ll be viewed as the workhorse that gets his teammates going and the reason they have success. He’ll grab the offensive board that gives Seth Curry another shot after just missing. He’ll box-out and kick out to freshman Rasheed Salaimon to start the offensive transition. Late in the game he’ll draw the double-team then hit Ryan Kelly underneath the basket for the easiest two points of his life.

In a season where many think Duke might struggle with an identity crisis, Plumlee is going to put the team on his shoulders and be consistent from day one. He’ll be viewed as the leader, the rock that brings the team together and he’ll be named 2012-13 ACC player of the year.


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