Duke basketball’s top 10 role players of the last decade

Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Marshall Plumlee
Marshall Plumlee (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The best Duke basketball role players since 2010: Marshall Plumlee

Marshall Plumlee. 434. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 2012-16. 7. player. Center

The youngest of the three Plumlee brothers was the least talented of the bunch, but he made up for it with his infectious energy and intensity. Unlike Mason and Miles, who played right away, Marshall Plumlee never saw any meaningful minutes until his junior year, and even then he was playing behind one of the best big men in the country, Jahlil Okafor.

Plumlee didn’t play a huge role for the 2014-15 Duke basketball national champs, but he always provided solid minutes when he did get on the floor. He was certainly not a guy you would draw up a play for or feed in the post. However, you could never say that Plumlee didn’t play extremely hard or give great energy when was on the floor.

When you play major college hoops, talent alone isn’t enough to earn yourself minutes. You must play hard, and that’s exactly what Plumlee did every night. He played with an intensity and fiery spirit that was unmatched.

Plumlee loved to scream, celebrate, and offer high fives to his teammates. He wouldn’t showboat but rather just get really excited and enthusiastic. He was not the most graceful player, but he did bring energy and athleticism every time he stepped on the floor. Offensively, Plumlee was pretty much limited to dunks, lobs, and putbacks.

Plumlee played a huge role during his senior year in the 2015-16 season. He finally became a starter and after an early-season injury to Amile Jefferson, became the Blue Devils only big man. Plumlee went from playing just over nine minutes per game his junior year to over 30 his senior year. He averaged about eight points and eight rebounds on a team that was crushed by its lack of depth and consistent offensive firepower.

He was one of the best screen setters I have ever seen at Duke. It’s not something that shows up in the box score or gets media attention, but having a great screen setter is important for the success of any team. That was especially important during his senior season when Duke heavily relied on outside shooting from Grayson Allen, Luke Kennard, and Brandon Ingram.

Plumlee was extremely consistent, you knew exactly what you would get from him. He always brought great energy, toughness, strong finishes, hard screens, rolls to the rim, and a great attitude.

Probably my favorite Marshall Plumlee moment came from when he nailed a 3-pointer in an early-season game, which caused hysteria on the Duke bench (because of that lone attempt, his 100 percent shooting from beyond the arc for his career is technically a program record). He also showed off his toughness when he broke his nose in the ACC tournament yet continued to play, and that’s just who he was. Plumlee was not about glitz and glamour but a guy willing to do what is needed to win.

Plumlee had a very brief stint in the NBA with the New York Knicks. He no longer laces up basketball sneakers, but rather boots, military boots. He is currently a member of the elite U.S Army Rangers.