Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 3/22/12
Duke junior center Mason Plumlee is exploring the possibility of entering the NBA draft, the Durham Herald-Sun is reporting. The 6-foot-11 Plumlee has an NBA future, but the question is will one more year at Duke make much of a difference in his game, and will it further enhance his draft status? Given his trajectory at Duke, Plumlee, who averaged 10.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, may not have a whole lot to gain by returning for his senior season. Plumlee was quite effective through late January when he scored a season-high 23 points and snaring 12 rebounds in a win at Maryland, which coach Mike Krzyzewski called his teams "most mature" performance of the season to date. But once the calendar turned to February, Plumlee began to struggle, but more so, Duke stopped getting him the ball. In a four-game stretch beginning with a win at Boston College and ending with an uninspiring win at Wake Forest, Plumlee attempted just 15 total shots and averaged only five points in those games. Plumlee scored in double figures 19 times, but failed to in seven of the teams last 12 contests. The Warsaw, Ind., native averaged 9 points over an 11-game stretch before scoring 19 in the NCAA Tournament loss to Lehigh. He went 9-for-9 from the floor and grabbed 12 rebounds versus the Mountain Hawks, figures he more closely average if Duke was more intent on going inside. Plumlee, who is considered a late first-round pick by most draft sites, doesnt have an array of moves on the lower blocks, but he has a few, including a solid jump hook, and is adept at finishing when moving toward the basket. Hes more athletic than he appears, as evidenced by some of the mid-court steals and flushes he picks up every so often. Hes a fine defender, has a knack for blocking shots either from the weak side or straight up on his man. Hes an outstanding rebounder, and usually plays with tremendous intensity. By returning to a Duke team that could struggle a bit, Plumlee could be the go-to guy, provided the Blue Devils dont fall deeply in love with the 3 again. Developing another post move and scoring consistently in the 15-point range will increase his value, as hes seen more as a role and possible niche (rebounding) player right now.
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