Remember the IZOD Center (a.k.a The Meadowlands)? The unhallowed swampland that served as home to the New Jersey Nets? Well, basketball was welcomed back to the area with an early season matchup between Temple and Duke.
Per usual, Coach K’s second-ranked squad has an array of talent that is being scouted for the 2013 NBA draft. Below is a look at the strengths and points of improvement for their star center, Mason Plumlee.
Quick quote: “I’ve been in the gym a lot. I’ve been working with the coaches a lot instead of on my own. I spend more time with them as opposed to just going to the gym on my own. I just think my commitment’s always been good, but this year it’s been great.”
Brian Zoubek, Duke’s former center: “Well for him, it’s always been a lot of potential based on his athletic talent and I think he’s brought it all together this year. He’s provided some pretty good leadership as well and you can see he’s a lot stronger and filled out. He’s got that low-post game developed a little more, he’s doing well on defense. He’s just got the whole package right now.”
Ability to run the floor: More than a handful of times Plumlee beat the whole Temple team down the floor. He runs the floor very well for his size and whether he scores or not in these situations, his presence in the paint is a disposition for any team because of Duke’s excellent perimeter shooting.
Establishing low post position: This is probably the best part of his game. Whether it’s on the fast break or after being involved in the pick and roll, Plumlee is constantly fighting for position on the interior. Although he wasn’t exactly playing against an NBA front line Saturday, he established excellent position often and caught the ball in good position to make a move. Just as he dominated on offense, Plumlee is pretty good at post defense, too. He uses his body to push interior players off the box so that they’re uncomfortable when they catch the ball and shows promise as a shot-blocker.
Use of armbar: Plumlee consistently used both arms to create space for potential over-the-top entry passes, but not many of these were thrown his way against Temple.
Second jump ability: He’s quick off his feet the second and third time he jumps for a rebound, which helps him to get a hand on the ball and keep possessions alive.
Capable passer – high and low post: He’s a solid passer who’s equally comfortable squeezing bounce passes to teammates ducking into the low post as he is swinging the ball out of the post. He moves the ball quickly and isn’t shy to drive-and-kick the ball to an open perimeter shooter after making a move to the hoop.