Duke down to its last Plumlee, braces for end of an era
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) The end of an era is coming for No. 15 Duke: The Blue Devils will finally run out of Plumlees.
Duke has had at least one - and for one year, all three - Plumlee brothers on the team since 2008. During the past eight seasons, they've combined to play in 392 games and each will have left with an NCAA championship ring.
The run is winding down, with the youngest - Marshall Plumlee - a fifth-year senior set to play his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium next week.
He's trying not to think about that for a while.
''There's time after the season to get sentimental,'' he added. ''I just hope Duke's enjoyed eight years of Plumlees as much as I have.''
That's meant what Marshall called ''a lot of miles on the car'' for family patriarch Millard. former player at Tennessee Tech, Millard - nicknamed ''Perky'' - has spent much of the past decade making the 10 1/2-hour drive from the family's home in Warsaw, Indiana, to Durham.
It began when oldest son Miles, a 6-foot-11 center with an impressive vertical leap, arrived at Duke in 2008. A year later came Mason, who's also 6-11 but in the mold of a more traditional post player, and 7-footer Marshall joined them in 2011.
In his final season, Marshall has developed into an indispensable force underneath for Duke. One of three captains for Blue Devils (21-7, 10-5 ACC), the youngest Plumlee has reached double figures in either points or rebounds in nine of his last 10 games while helping Duke veer out of a midseason tailspin by winning five of six.
His brothers try to keep an eye on their little brother.
''He knows what he's got to do and he's having a good year,'' Miles said.
Said Mason, ''I'm proud of him and I have a lot of respect for him.''
Both Miles and Mason parlayed their success at Duke into NBA careers - Miles plays for Milwaukee while Mason is with Portland - and Marshall hopes to join them in the pros while also working toward becoming a U.S. Army officer.
He said he's in discussions with military officials and ''we're figuring out what the best route would be for me at this point, whether that would be going (Army Reserves) or (Army) National Guard.''
It's possible he delays part of his lengthy Basic Officer Leaders Course training until the offseason that follows his rookie year in the pros.
There's time to figure that out, Marshall says. For now, the focus is on capping a career and ending his family's run at Duke with more victories.
The brothers have combined for 2,393 points, 2,147 rebounds and three NCAA championship rings, with Miles and Mason winning them in 2010 and Marshall earning his last year.
''We didn't plan it at all. I thought we were all going to different colleges,'' Miles said. ''It just fell together. It's crazy, because I don't think we would have it any other way now.''
Duke might owe LSU a thank-you for starting the chain of events that brought all three brothers together in the first place.
Mason was the first to commit to Duke while Miles was set to play at Stanford for Trent Johnson. But when LSU fired its coach in 2008, Johnson took that job and that led Miles to reconsider and choose Duke.
A few years later, Marshall's choice came down to Duke and Virginia before he ultimately picked the Blue Devils and spent the 2011-12 season on the roster with his big brothers, though he broke his foot and redshirted that season.
''It was pretty crazy how Miles ended up at Duke with the whole Stanford situation,'' Marshall said. ''Myself, I had to figure out what I wanted in the recruiting process. I really didn't know where I wanted to go, but now looking back on it, there's no other way it could have gone down. It was the best decision of my life.''
AP Sports Writers Anne M. Peterson in Portland, Oregon, and Kyle Hightower in Boston contributed to this report.
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