Duke’s Mason Plumlee in the NCAA Player of the Year Conversation (Video)

Robert Mayer – USA TODAY Sports

Duke senior forward Mason Plumlee is still in the running for NCAA Player of the Year. Plumlee is a top-3 candidate with Michigan point guard Trey Burke, and Creighton forward Doug McDermitt.

Plumlee is fourth in the country with 11.4 rebounds per game. He is also averaging 17.3 points and 1.7 blocks. As a 6’10” 235lbs. big man, he is a tough assignment for any opposing defender. Plumlee is averaging three offensive rebounds per contest, which he often converts for second chance points.

Duke is currently the No. 1 team in the country, although that may change following their loss to Miami on Jan. 23. Plumlee is leading the 16-and-2 Blue Devils in minutes, points, rebounds, and blocks per game. He also leads his team in field goal percentage shooting 57.1% from the floor. Leading one of the best teams in the country in that many significant categories will assure him a spot in the Player of the Year conversation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4ijEh2y13c

Since co-starting forward Ryan Kelly went down with a foot injury, Plumlee has picked up his defensive presence out of necessity. In those three games he is averaging 2.0 blocks and 2.3 steals. The number of steals is striking as it reflects an increase of almost a steal and a half above his season average. This suggests more effort with active hands trying to prevent post points from his opponents.

However, in the three games without Kelly Duke is 1-2. Those are their only two losses of the season. One must conclude that maybe Plumlee isn’t the most significant player in the NCAA this season if he can’t rally his team through their current trials. In the loss to Miami Duke gave up 38 points in the paint. Similarly in the N.C. State loss, Duke allowed the Wolfpack to score 42 points in the paint.

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