GREENSBORO - One thing you can depend on in January is the annual Martin Luther King Classic in Greensboro, North Carolina where high school hoopsters play a day of basketball.
Christ School came out on fire against Greensboro Day grabbing a 20-6 first quarter lead and they never looked back. When the dust cleared, Christ School took home an 83-47 win over their in state rival.
The Greenies had a balanced attack led by future Blue Devil Marshall Plumlee, a member of the 2011 recruiting class where he joins Austin Rivers, Michael Gbinije and Quinn Cook.
Plumlee scored 12 points and he got to the free throw stripe often. He equaled his point total with 12 rebounds giving him another double-double and dished out 4 assists to go with his 3 steals.
The man known as Coach K, Mike Krzyzewski, took in the game with assistant coach Nate James and they stayed for the Oak Hill game which featured Plumlees soon to be teammate Quinn Cook.
"Its always an honor when they take the time to come and see me because I know they are busy with their schedule. I just hope I was able to show him I'm working hard and trying to improve and I'm looking forward to be a part of the Duke program, " said Plumlee after his teams win.
When asked what his goals were for the remainer of the season, Plumlee told BDN, "Not to lose a game. We want to keep it going and work hard on and off the court."
Christ School and Marshall Plumlee will play Oak Hill and Quinn Cook in Cameron Indoor Stadium this February in a game where the details have yet to be released.
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The Duke Blue Devils have put together one of the nations top recruiting classes in 2011 and Marshall Plumlee is a part of it. The youngest Plumlee opened up to BDN furing a recent interview sharing his thoughts on a variety of subjects, some of which you've likely hear about for the first time. So check out the latest offering from BDN Premium for yourself.
BDN - You just had a 20 point 11 rebound game where your team bounced back from a loss to finish off Glaxo strong. You were really aggressive in the game and caused some problems on defense with your length, especially against their guards where you forced a couple of turnovers. Can you talk a bit about that?
Marshall Plumlee - A lot of times you've got to work hard to get to that next level as a defender and I know there are things I need to work on. I've got to have quicker feet and be capable of defending a player on the perimeter. I have to take some chances in the game and eventually I will hopefully just pick it all up automatically.
Your Dad told me to say hello in that he hardly ever sees you while school is in session
(Laughs) Well, it was great to see him in the stands and I'm looking forward to talking to im when we get out of here [Glaxo]. He watched the team play UNC-G the other night and I was very excited for them, both team and family. This Duke team is a great group of guys.
Miles had a [private] nice game against UNC-G. Did you see those dunks?
You know, I only heard about it, so I'm looking forward to seeing the game. I get real excited when my brothers do well and I can't wait to be a part of it all.
As media our seats shift around a bit, but during the UNC-G game I was sitting directly behind the bench and Krzyzewski which was cool. As you know they don't like people looking in on huddles so, I had to look the other way during timeouts. But I noticed that Mason jumped up in great joy as Miles threw down a thunder dunk. Is that the way it is with concerns to support in your family?
All the time. Yes sir, we completely support one another and as a family we know what each other is capable of. We really push and bring out the best in one another and that makes for a great family.
People often talk of Marshall Plumlee and the word development comes up a lot. Although you are always developing. One thing a lot of people may not realize is that you are the only Plumlee that wasn't held back a year. In context, that means your brothers had an extra year for development. Can you speak to that?
You know, I never gave it much thought. For me I just know that my body continues to develop and as I get stronger it'll be different than the way Miles got stronger or Mason. In the meantime, all I can do is keep working and focus on the things I know are best for me and my body would catch up in time.
How would you describe your game in your own words?
My own words? I want to do whatever it takes to win. I want to block shots, rebound and do whatever it takes whether it is scoring 20 point a game or setting a pick. I just want to win. It's all about winning to me and that's what I want to do. That's why I chose to play for Duke as well, because I wanted to be a part of a winning program. I really wish I were there right now, but I appreciate another year with my current teammates at Christ School. I know I'm not ready right now but I've got another year to get better. It's exciting to be around the team because they are such great guys and they'll be friends forever. I'm looking forward to see what we can accomplishment together.
Is there anyone on the current team you've hit is off with?
Oh man, I hate to give a shout out and leave somebody out but I'd have to say that Nolan.
Rollin' Nolan. He's something isn't he?
Oh, he's awesome, he's great, they all are.
Not a lot of people know how stringent Christ School can be. You have designated times to study and those there take academics seriously. Can you talk of what a normal week is like there?
Yes sir. What a lot of people don't realize is that we have a ton of acreage for a school and there are no custodians. So, we wake up early in the morning and we all have a job. One person may scrub toilets, another sweeps the hallways and it really brings us together. You are expected to make good grades and I pride myself in keeping a 4.0 GPA. Basketball is great and it's my passion but there are some many other things out there in life and why not be at all of it.
There have been a few times when I tried to get in touch with you but curfews were in place. You guys have to be in bed by a certain time and study, right?
Yes, study halls are enforced and curfews are in place, but with this being my senior year, I have the honor of being chosen as a Christ School prefect or leadership position. So my purpose job is enforcing those rules on the younger guys. So, there is a little bit more time this year where I can study.
Why is leadership important?
It helps me in so many ways. Leadership is something ... when it's there and obvious when it's not. It's important in the locker room and with your teammates. And when I get to Duke, I'll do what ever Coach K tells me to do.
I know that Chris Collins came to see you the other evening and Wojo [Steve Wojciechowski] tonight. Do the coaches converse with you afterwards?
Yeah, for the most part we keep in good touch. I personally like conversions with them because I can pick their brain and they tell me things I could do better and things I did well and their wealth of knowledge I pick up on a lot of things.
Do you ever get razzed now that you have elected to play for Duke?
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. There are always Carolina fans out there.
Quite a few in the western part of the state, huh?
Yeah, yeah, but I'm 110% Duke. It's fun to be a part of it all.
And what does the future hold for Marshall Plumlee?
The future for me will be a steady process of a lot of work. Some of the best advice I've got from the Duke coaches is that it's a marathon and not a sprint and I can never forget that and you mentioned earlier how players develop and my biggest fear is n for tme to peak for there should always be room for improvement.
Duke fans will soon get some good news that you guys will actually play in Cameron in February against Oak Hill Academy and Quin Cook.
I'm really looking forward to it. Oak Hill is a great basketball school and we've had some opportunities in the past and I'm looking forward to another shot against them. I'm looking forward to seeing Quinn Cook again, he's a great team and he'll be a good teammate.
Have you guys been able to get together or stay in touch?
Yeah. We keep in touch and I have seen him on visits at Duke and gotten to know him and the little time I've spent with him let's me know he's a great kid and I'm real excited to play with him.
Thanks for your time, Marshall!
Yes sir. Thank you. [/private]
Coming next - Breaking down the improvements in Marshall Plumlee's game.
There has been a long tradition of future Duke players playing in the Glaxo Smith Kline Holiday Invitational Tournament over the years. Some of the more memorable performances were turned in by Will Avery and Chris Duhon as well current Chicago Bulls star, Luol Deng. This season there is but one future Blue Devil participating, that being Marshall Plumlee of Christ School Arden.
Of course, there would have been two Blue Devils had former verbal Tyler Adams, a 6-10 center form Brandon, Mississippi not backed out. Adams is now headed to Georgetown but his team was originally invited because of his original Duke ties. Interestingly, Adams and Plumlee's teams squared off in the opener.
Adams started the game with a block of Plumlee's first shot and he went on to score 17 points in the first half, ending the game with 21 points, 11 rebounds. Plumlee went scoreless in the first half, but settled down in the second and he had better stats than Adams after the break. Plumlee ended the game with 9 points and 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 blocked shot.
But this wasn't a match up solely between the two bigs and Christ School was the much deeper team and they played their entire 12 man roster. So while some may point to head to head stats, the important stat was that Christ School had little trouble with Brnadon defeating them by a 70-46 score.
By playing a deep rotation, this meant Plumlee didn't get the same minutes as Adams. Trey Brown added 12 points and the next top scorer had a mere 4 points for Brandon. Meanwhile, Christ School got 20 points from Damarcus Harrison and 10 more from T.D. Dixon.
Towards the end of the contest, Adams was visibly tired but he is still a load in the paint and he has developed a nice little outside shot since the AAU circuit this summer. Plumlee showed a baby hook, the ability to follow missed shots with authoritative dunks and a family trait in good, really good, passing skills.
One must also remember that a common practice in today's high school basketball world is to hold a id back a year for maturity. That was the case with Marshall's brothers, Mason and Miles. So, in short, Marshall has not had that extra year as had they and if he did, it would be an advantage.
The youngest of the Plum 3's is still developing and is a work in progress, but those close to the program are happy where he is and they can see his improvement. Again, Christ School doesn't go inside to him often, so he battles for the scraps more often than not.
"I got Marshall to settle down after half time and he recognized the double teams coming at him allowing him to get the ball to open teammates. His jump shot from the free throw line helped open the game up a bit," said Christ School Coach David Gaines.
Christ School plays again this evening at 7:20 which conflicts with the Duke-UNC-Greensboro game but they will also play on Thursday, so local Triangle are fans have two chances to see him play. We'll touch base with Marshall in the coming days for he was not available to the media last evening. Marshall most recently won the dunk contest at City of Palms.