Marshall Plumlee intends to trade one iconic uniform for another when he's done at Duke.
The 7-foot center formally committed to join the U.S. Army after graduation by completing his contracting ceremony on Friday morning at Cameron Indoor Stadium. He will become an army officer after he finishes his ROTC requirements in spring 2016.
The Duke Chronicle reported Thursday that the inspiration for Plumlee's interest in joining the military was the Oct. 2012 trip to Fort Bragg that Mike Krzyzewski organized for the Blue Devils. The former West Point cadet, player and coach had his team go through a day of physical training before holding an open practice in front of a few hundred soldiers.
Duke players spent a night in the barracks before waking up at dawn, marching to physical training and tackling an obstacle course that left each of them caked in dirt and mud. Plumlee, ironically, could not participate since he was on crutches and wore a walking boot on his left foot, but the experience apparently rubbed off on him anyway.
The U.S. Army's maximum allowable height is 80 inches — four inches shy of Plumlee's listed height — but the Chronicle reported that he received a special waiver. His Duke teammates were on hand for Plumlee's ceremony and snapped pictures with him afterward.
Plumlee, the younger brother of former Duke standouts Miles and Mason Plumlee, has progressed more slowly than his brothers did in Durham from a basketball standpoint. The redshirt junior is averaging 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in eight minutes per game this season as a backup to national player of the year candidate Jahlil Okafor.
Although Marshall probably won't be joining his older brothers in the NBA once he's done at Duke, he'll be doing something even more meaningful. He'll be serving his country and wearing a uniform we should all be able to support.
- - - - - - -