Duke basketball: NBA Blue Devil notches his first triple-double

Duke basketball legends Zion Williamson and Mason Plumlee (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball legends Zion Williamson and Mason Plumlee (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

A former Duke basketball big man is reaching new heights in the Motor City.

First-year Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee, a 2010 national champ who is nowadays a teammate to fellow Blue Devils Jahlil Okafor and Frank Jackson, grabbed 10 or more rebounds on 49 different occasions across his 141 games as a four-year Duke basketball treasure. And he scored in double figures 66 times as a collegian, altogether totaling 36 double-doubles.

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However, the two-time All-ACC performer never came close to a triple-double.

But even before this season, Plumlee had flirted with the achievement as a pro, notably in 2017 when he tallied 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a game — yet only eight points — as a starter for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Now, in his eighth NBA campaign after going No. 22 overall at the 2013 NBA Draft, Plumlee has finally joined the triple-double club.

In Sunday night’s 123-112 home victory over the New Orleans Pelicans (11-15) — featuring Duke basketball products Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and JJ Redick, who combined for half of their squad’s scoring — Plumlee finished with 17 points to along with a team-high 10 rebounds and a game-high 10 assists.

The 30-year-old did so in only 30 minutes on the floor while shooting 8-for-12 from the field and 1-for-2 from the foul line, helping the 2020-21 Pistons (8-19) see their first two-game winning streak. In doing so, Plumlee became the oldest player since a 33-year-old Patrick Ewing in 1996 to net his first triple-double.

Duke basketball legend on track for his most productive season

At 10.2 points per game, Mason Plumlee is just off the pace for his career-high season scoring average of 10.4, which came in 2016-17. That said, his 8.9 boards per outing currently mark a personal best. The same goes for his average playing time at 27.7 minutes.

Moving forward, factor in Monday’s report from ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski. Evidently, Detroit is now keeping six-time All-Star Blake Griffin out of the lineup indefinitely while eyeing trade scenarios for the power forward. As a result, Plumlee’s usage should only rise in the coming weeks.

Mason Plumlee and the Pistons next travel to face the Dallas Mavericks (13-15) at 9 p.m. EST Wednesday.

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