DURHAM, N.C. Mason Plumlee long ago learned how to deflect criticism the way he swats away shots in the lane, with his own unique touch and a wry Midwestern smile.
Duke's Plumlee is unconventional in todays college basketball climate. He is a true post player in the era of the stretch-four, when centers are expected to run up and down the court in tune with point guards. That is where his uniqueness enters the equation.
Most 6-foot-10 players capable of racing up and down the court have subpar post games, dont body up properly on defense in the paint, nor do they exercise the combination of fundamentals and brute tenacity of rebounding one might see from great rebounders such as Wes Unseld, Ben Wallace or Kevin Love.
A native of Warsaw, Ind., Plumlee has blended all of that into his game: He can bully an opponent on the lower block, and on the next possession he can leap toward the rafters at Cameron Indoor Stadium, grab an errant alley-oop pass, and ram it home one-handed, ...