Being the eldest of three basketball playing brothers, Miles Plumlee should be a walking example, a pace setter for his younger siblings. Hard work and perseverance should be his calling card.
Recently he has had a lot of publicity as he looks to begin his senior year in college. Jeff Goodman took in a Duke practice and was very impressed with the older Plumlee.
"After a summer in which he actually got away from Duke, Plumlee came back bigger, stronger and with a swagger. He dominated practice on Friday afternoon against the middle Plumlee, Mason, and Ryan Kelly. He was a presence in the middle and had one spectacular dunk that would have made Doug Gottlieb re-consider his comment of Duke being 'un-athletic'."
Miles has always been a respectable defensive player. However, offensively he seems a little out of his element. He always seems tense but occasionally there are glimpses of the player that he could be. Sometimes he would be in the game but statistically (traditional stats that is) you would not know he was there. However, the opposing team would go long stretches without scoring.
Duke Basketball Report recently did a profile on the Miles and they had a great story about his sophomore year where Brian Zoubek fouled out then implored the 6’10” center to get the job done as his substitute. He did just that, with Duke advancing in that tournament.
Now going into his senior year, Plumlee has been made a co-captain with Ryan Kelly and will get his chance as a starter. “You always want to feel like part of the offense, but for three years it was more supplementing the main guys,” Plumlee told the citizen-times.
“But now it’s my time to do more, and I feel confident I can do that.”
That last statement could easily be dismissed by those who have studied Plumlee’s game over the last three years and have written him off. There is a reason the NBA does not like drafting college seniors.
Brian Zoubek learned that the hard way. His first three seasons were forgettable but the latter part of his senior year, he somehow found his motor and was a vital part of Duke’s 2010 championship. Still, that plus his 7’1” height could not influence a team to take him in the subsequent NBA draft.
Miles could avoid this fate by dominating straight out of the gates and leaving everything on the floor. He will have his opportunities to transfer his dominance in practice to actual games as a projected starter.
This is not an easy thing. Bright lights and thousands of screaming fans can cause a player to be self-conscious. He could second guess himself, misread passes, and the adrenaline rush can be counteractive.
Some players are followers and some are leaders. They need to be in front at all times. Miles has had his stint as a follower in the shadow of Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith and company.
As he says, now it’s his turn to lead. The most a player can ask for is a chance to prove himself. An early showdown against Jared Sullinger—one of the best post players in college basketball— in the Big Ten / ACC challenge, will be a good measuring stick.
This will be Miles Plumlee’s last chance to determine his future and set an example for his younger brothers.
Best of luck to him, because as Mike Krzyzewski told Luke Winn: “"Our strength right now is our big guys.