Former Duke center Marshall Plumlee says there’s a misconception about his future career path.
He isn’t deciding between basketball and the military. If and when his basketball days come to an end, then he’ll pursue a military path.
Plumlee was one of six draft candidates to work out Wednesday for the Charlotte Hornets. This was the sixth audition for the 7-footer, the last of three brothers to have played at Duke.
Plumlee says he’s all in on a pro basketball career. He says he believes he’s an NBA player like his older brothers and he’s confident he’ll be selected during the 60-slot draft June 23.
So while he’s involved with Army ROTC, he has done nothing as far as a military commitment that is imminent or can’t be delayed.
“The media kind of ran with it, as if I’d be deploying right away,” said Plumlee, who averaged 8.3 points and 8.6 rebounds as a Duke senior.
“From the very beginning I sought to serve in the Army reserves and play professional basketball in the NBA. I’ve worked with the Army (toward that option) and the Army has prepared me tremendously. It made me a better leader at Duke.
“I’m really fortunate to have two passions in life that really help each other.”
A player with the stature of Duke teammate Brandon Ingram, projected as a top-two pick, can be picky about where he auditions. If you’re Plumlee, you go where you’re told to go. He has been to Los Angeles, Memphis, Tenn., Washington, New York and Charlotte, plus a group workout for a number of other teams.
That’s a grind if you allow it to be. But partially through the advice of older brothers Miles (Milwaukee Bucks) and Mason (Portland Trail Blazers), he was ready for what to expect and has kept the process positive – more an adventure than a chore.
“My brothers just told me to enjoy the process, because it can sneak up and get stressful on you if you let it,” Marshall Plumlee said.
“It’s a fun process to work out for all the teams, travel the country. I should be having fun, have a smile on my face every day. I’m trying to not let this stress me out, wanting to be in the NBA so badly.”
On Wednesday, Plumlee was paired against another big man, former Michigan State forward Matt Costello. It helps, Plumlee said, to know and respect your peers in these tryouts. Plus, he has done these enough to see what is standard from team-to-team and what is unique to each team’s approach to draft preparation.
“Every team throws in its own twists and turns, things they like to emphasize. But for the most part they all just put you in situations to see you compete,” Plumlee said. “They have seen us play. They want to see how we compete in a workout environment. That’s where I try to show my best.”
And the rest – speculation about if or where he’ll be selected – he tunes out.
“Mock drafts don’t really mean anything,” Plumlee said. “If teams are about to draft somebody, they’re not saying, ‘Oh, what does that mock draft say about Marshall Plumlee?’ They do their own homework. I don’t let myself get caught up in the standings.
“I know I’m capable of being an NBA player and I’m trying to show that.”
He said he’d be happy if the NBA team in his adopted home state of North Carolina selected him.
“I think I’d fit in great because this is a team that prides itself in playing hard, taking no plays off and really communicating out there on the floor,” said Plumlee, an Indiana native.
“Those are some of my strengths. It’s a team I see myself with, but there are a lot of teams I can see myself with, too.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell