The 2016 NBA Draft is set for Thursday, June 23rd. As the stars of the college game get ready to find out where they will begin their NBA journey, CBS Local Sports’ “My Life As” series will give them an opportunity to talk about how they got to this point and what they expect from the future in their own words.
I remember a lot of days in the driveway with my brothers watching them play a lot of one-on-one. Watching because physically I was always a little bit behind just because of the age gap. And when I was able to get out there they’d kind of beat the crap out of me. Those are probably my earliest memories, just out in our driveway battling it out.
Working towards the NBA Draft, my brothers, Mason and Miles, have both been a tremendous resource. I’ve been able to pick their brains for a while now.
The biggest piece of advice they’ve given me is to have fun with this process because you can tend to stress out too much about things out of your control and you end up sucking the fun out of it and not playing your best basketball. I’m having fun with it, I’m taking their advice, and man, this month has been a blast. Really enjoying the heck out of it.
Here I am, getting a look inside each NBA organization and getting the opportunity to work out for them. I feel tremendously blessed and I’m excited with each city that I go to.
Each team I’ve gone to I feel like I’ve performed well and I leave it thinking ‘man, I could really see myself in this city and playing for them.’ I don’t think I’ve had a bad workout or a bad impression yet of a city or team. It’s really exciting for me and a lot of fun to get an up close look at these teams that I’ve watched for so long on TV growing up. So I’m pretty high on just the idea of playing anywhere in the NBA at this point.
I also try to be smart about it, knowing that any team or any person could make the call to draft me so I try to make a good impression on everybody and go out of my way to be the best version of myself every day so that they could get a good picture of what they’re going to get when they draft Marshall Plumlee.
They’re going to get my motor and my vocalness, which I think are two of my biggest strengths. I really pride myself on all the team aspects of the game and by being vocal on the court I feel like I help things move smoother for my team; whether that be communicating on defense, or getting the ball where it’s supposed to be on offense. I love playing hard and I love being able to put it all out there on the floor.
I also have some things I know I need to work on as well, especially developing my jump shot.This past month I’ve really had the chance to work at it and that’s something that has been really exciting for me. I feel like I’m progressing and that it’s something that if I can continue to progress with, that can be a real tool for me moving forward.
I also feel like I have a very unique combination of size, mobility, explosiveness along with my motor. I feel like there are a lot of guys who may have one of those four things but I feel like I bring them all in a big way and I’m able to really impact the game on the offensive and defensive end of the floor with those four things.
My motor and my emotion are some of my biggest attributes, but in college, the game got faster and I just needed to find a way to slow down and show poise. The emotion with which I play the game is a strength now, but early on in my Duke career I let my emotions get the best of me. But as my Duke career went on I got better at showing that poise, at being that rock that my team needed me to be. That was probably my biggest transition from high school to college ball, just taking that deep breath so that I could be the good basketball player I know I am.
A huge part of my development and progression came from Coach K. He helped me grow up a lot on and off the court and he really pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone by not always asking the easiest things of me and not always trying to find the simple answer. He was constantly pushing me to be my very best. With five years of that, I’m proud to say that I grew a lot and became a player who I feel like exemplifies a lot of the things Duke is all about – most importantly winning.
That’s why – of course – my best memory from my time at Duke was winning it all, and winning it big. I’d say a memory that was pretty close up there was this past season because I feel like we really pushed the upper limits of our team, and through the adversity we had to deal with our team got a lot closer. So I have some friendships from this past year’s team that are very special to me. But if I had to give one answer, it’s our 2015 national championship.
I feel like this past year I grew tremendously as a player and meeting these NBA teams, I just want them to see just how much I’ve grown. I want them to get the impression – and for me to show them – that I’m not done growing. That I’m someone that’s going to strive to get better day in and day out and I’m determined to not just get to the NBA, but get to the NBA and stay there and be a great player that’s going to help some team win. So just that constant upward progression.
There are a bunch of ideas floating out there for where I’ll be watching draft day, but no finalized plans yet. I’m pretty sure I just want to watch it by myself. I’ve never been one to look for a lot of flash and flair but kind of having that moment by myself, that big moment in my life, and knowing that no matter which way the draft goes I’m confident I’m going to be an NBA player and contribute to a team one way or another. So it’ll be an interesting night.
It would mean a great deal to hear my name called on June 23. It’s something you dream of as a kid growing up and playing the game of basketball. It’s something I’m working towards and it’s a place I definitely envision myself being. But at the end of the day, if it were to not happen you don’t let something like that discourage you. That just becomes more fuel for your fire to work that much harder.