The best Duke basketball role players since 2010: Miles Plumlee
It’s only right to follow up a Plumlee with another Plumlee. Miles Plumlee was a better all-around player than his youngest brother but similar to Marshall, helped the Duke basketball program win a national championship.
Plumlee was actually the starting center for more than half the year in 2009-10 when Duke eventually cut down April nets. Around February is when he was relegated to the bench in favor of senior Brian Zoubek. Plumlee’s role on that championship team was also similar to Marshall’s five years later.
Miles Plumlee was relied on to rebound, set good screens, role hard to the rim, catch lobs, and protect the basket. He was a freak athlete, perhaps the most athletic of all three brothers. I remember watching Plumlee thrown down a windmill dunk and thinking it was the greatest thing ever. You see them all the time now, but back then it wasn’t super common to see a 6-foot-10 center doing that. Plumlee was always throwing down highlight dunks and making incredible plays above the rim.
Plumlee also had great foot speed, as he would beat opposing centers down the floor for easy baskets. He was one of those athletes who could go grab the ball anywhere near the rim and throw it down. Maybe the most memorable Miles Plumlee dunk came late in a blowout win on a Senior Night against UNC where he caught a lob from Nolan Smith and sent the Cameron Crazies into a frenzy.
Over the years, Miles Plumlee became more than just a dunker as he developed a solid low-post game. He developed a nice jump hook and soft touch around the basket. By the time he was a senior, he became a beast on the boards. He had ten double-digit rebounding games and also a 22-rebound performance against Maryland. That season, Plumlee finished in the top 10 of rebounding totals in the ACC. He also led the conference in 2-point field goal percentage.
Those statistics probably helped Plumlee become a first-round selection in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. Plumlee played for the Pacers, Suns, Bucks, Hornets, and Hawks over seven seasons in the NBA. He also had a stint in China and currently plays for the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s NBL.