This year the Duke Blue Devils will feature a trio of post players. Amile Jefferson will start, with Marshall Plumlee and Josh Hairston waiting on the bench. They will need them to play quality minutes because they both might have to play considerable time. Hairston will play both the center position and power forward, so he might see more minutes than Plumlee, who can only play the center position.
Hairston is an undersized power forward, but will have to play much bigger this year. He has a good stature for someone who is only 6-foot-7, and will have to throw around his weight to be more effectively on the glass. Hairston will be a senior this year and will look to make this his best year at Duke.
He is a hard worker and can hold his own on the defensive side of the court. He has improved his shot so he can make defenses respect his jumper. He is effective on the defensive side of the ball but could work on his game on the offensive side. He probably will play players who are bigger than him this year so he will be challenged more this season than any other.
Hairston still needs to work on his post up game. He isn’t a player who they will be able to just dump the ball down to and let him work. It will be difficult for the Blue Devils when he is in because they will be a strictly a drive and kick team offensively. He will have to play more minutes this year especially if Plumlee can’t stay healthy.
Marshall Plumlee came in to Duke as the youngest Plumlee brother. While many people had him as the best of the Plumlee brothers, he hasn’t shown it yet. In high school, Marshall was the only brother to win four state championships. This is probably why so many people thought that he was going to be the best of the brothers.
He has the size and the athleticism to be a great player at Duke, but hasn’t been able to earn a lot of playing time. This was in part due to the presence of his older brothers on the roster, but also due to several injuries he has sustained during his two years in Durham.
At the start of this past season he hurt his foot, which hurt his development and never really got on the court because he was so far behind. This offseason he was injured again but hopefully he will be able to play more minutes this coming year. Right now it doesn’t look like he can play big minutes because he is very injury prone.
Plumlee does have the height for a center and could have a big impact on Duke basketball this year because of his ability to get rebounds. His height will also be a big contributor to protecting the rim and could be a huge help defensively, assuming he can stay healthy.
Plumlee will need to work on his offensive game just like his brothers did at Duke, but they both did improve while at Duke so Marshall should too. He doesn’t have much of a post game or an offensive game either. He is athletic and hopefully that will give him some easy baskets this year. He will need to develop a post game so he can get more minutes but if he develops like his brothers he should be fine. Hopefully with some experience he will improve by the end of the season.