Throwback Thursday: Plumlee’s Shining Moment


In this week’s Throwback Thursday, I talk with Suns center Miles Plumlee about playing and winning a national championship in 2010 against Butler.

“To win a title under Coach K is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.” — Miles Plumlee

Date: April 5, 2010

Place: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Plumlee’s season: Plumlee came off the bench during the Duke Blue Devils’ run to the title during the 2009-10 season. The center played in all 40 games, averaging 16.4 minutes and around five points and five rebounds per game. Duke went into the tournament with a No. 1 seed and cruised its way to the championship game, winning all of its games by seven points or more. Even though Plumlee never scored more than six points in any of the tournament games, he was still their leading contributor off the bench.

Duke vs. Butler: The Butler Bulldogs were everyone’s darlings heading into the championship game against the No. 1 seeded Blue Devils. Most expected Duke to run away from Butler in that game, but to the surprise of many, Butler hung around and almost pulled off they greatest championship run in the tournaments history. Both teams played a closely contested game with neither team pulling ahead by more than six points. Duke held a two point lead when Brian Zoubek purposely missed the second free throw attempt with three seconds remaining. Butler forward and current Utah Jazz Gordon Hayward grabbed the rebound and put up a half court shot that hit the backboard, rim, and bounced to the ground, just missing what could have been the most famous shot in college basketball history.

Aftermath: Plumlee went on to play two more years at Duke, but never got to experience another Final Four. The following year the Blue Devils lost to Arizona in the Sweet 16 before being upset by Lehigh during Plumlee’s senior season.

A Q&A with Miles Plumlee about winning a championship at Duke.

Jeff Sanders: What do you remember most about the National Championship game?

Miles Plumlee: We worked really hard to get there and the whole team was unbelievably excited. Every game is hard fought to get to that point and once you’re there, it’s hard to even take it all in like you know this is the national championship game. We came out and played hard and Butler was the toughest game we played all year. It came down to the last shot and I think everyone’s heart stopped, it looked good from my end, so I was really nervous and I almost passed out after running around.

Is there a moment in that game that stands out to you as being the moment that propelled Duke to victory?

The game was so neck-and-neck the whole time, both teams we were playing so hard. The moment we made a play, they made a play and when we made a stop, they made a stop. We were biting our nails until that last shot.

Obviously, Butler was a very good team. With that said, was there any overconfidence factor before the game with you being Duke and them being Butler?

No, and that is why we made it that far in the first place, because if you have that with any of those teams you are going to lose. They made it there for a reason and are playing their best basketball of the year at that point. Obviously, (Butler) had a lot of talent with a great coach. We pride ourselves on getting after it on both sides of the floor and that was the one team I thought matched our intensity that year.

Many great players have come and gone without a ring at Duke. What does it mean to you to win a championship at a program like Duke with a coach like Mike Krzyzewski?

It was a dream come true. When you are playing basketball  as a kid it was my dream to win a championship at every level. That one is the most difficult to get and to have that and win a title under Coach K is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

What stands out the most about the teams run to the championship that year?

I am still really good friends with everybody on the team, and all the seniors had a really good camaraderie that year and I think that’s what propelled us to winning the championship.

Tags: Butler Championship College Basketball Duke March Madness Miles Plumlee

  • http://COX SOUTHPHILLY

    Plumlee is one of the most athletic bigs in the NBA. He has tremendous upside and if Hornacek would stop holding him back by playing him less than 20minutes a game he can develop into one of the leagues better all around centers.

  • Dave:f32

    Im just guessing but maybe Hornacek knows his players strengths, weaknesses and he plays them to maximize their contributions. He has figured that Plumlee plateaus at 20 min vs. who he can sub in with the rotations that he likes as a coach…?

  • EBJM

    Brian Zoubek, the 7′-1″ center that started ahead of Miles is available.

  • sunsn7

    Im a fan of Plumlee but how about giving Alex Len a stretch of games of 20+ minutes per? The “Frye at the 5 to stretch the floor” argument is tough to defend when Frye himself doesn’t defend. When he isn’t hitting his shots, he’s a clear detriment to offensive AND defensive flow.

    Time for Suns fans to see more of our lottery pick and future all star Alex Len…and fellow future all star and cornerstone Archie Goodwin.

    PHX SUNS 2016 NBA CHAMPIONS

  • sunsn7

    GO SUN DEVILS

  • sunsn7

    Damn what a heartbreaker for diehard ASU fans. Fought back valiantly only to lose like that.

    Ouch.

  • foreveris2long

    March Madness started I believe with 5 overtime games today. Although I picked Texas v Az State, I feel the pain Sunsn7 for the Az fans. They really outplayed Texas in the 2nd half.It was so disheartening watching all the players lying on the floor after the devastating loss.

  • sunsn7

    Yeah Foreveris, the ending gave me a flashback to Staples Center for the 2009 WCF when Kobe airballs the game winner only to have Ron Artest (Metta, whatevah) catch it in front of Jared Dudley and layed it in at the buzzer and…well

    Same deflating effect.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Went 14-2 today….tied for 1st in my “Money Pool”…
    Missed Cincy-Harvard & Ohio St.-Dayton.
    Sunsn7…Tough loss for the Devils….had ASU in a couple “for fun” pools but had Texas in the Money Pool.

    Tomorrow worries me.

    Forever….for some reason I think UCLA will have their hands full with Tulsa.

    EBJM….Nice call on Zoubek….forgot about that guy.

  • SarverHater22

    Cmon Suns ! Drop all your remaining games and let Minny pass you , its the only way we get Minny’s no. 1

  • SarverHater22

    Seems like Minnesota is also determined to lose more than the Suns this year , that first rounder slated for Phx must be deep in Minny’s mind . heheh

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Tourney Tidbits

    A 13 seed has defeated a 4 seed in the last 6 Tourneys.
    Only one 4 seed left…UCLA
    Mich St. & Louisville being seeded 4th was absurd….both should have been 1 or 2 seeds.

    “Crazy Old Man Prediction”
    Of course a 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed….but today Weber St. v Arizona or Coastal Carolina v Virginia will give the 1 seed a run for their money….the guy I’m tied with in the Money Pool has Cal-Poly beating Wichita St…..Cal-Poly lost to Loyola Marymount (Forever’s daughters school) by 20 back in Dec.

    12 seed v 5 seed
    This is no longer an upset…In the last 6 Tourneys the 12 has played the 5 seed 24 times & the record is even…12-12.
    Already the 12 seed has won 2 of 3 in this Tourney with one left…SF Austin vs VCU.
    I have SF Austin but don’t feel confident about it…made that pick after doing 5 one-hitters of dro & drinkin 4 pitchers (with help from a friend) of beer down at Max’s in Glendale…lol.

    Good Luck to all & Your Brackets.

    ps…Greg Monroe has been notified that DBreezy will be in attendance tonight.

  • sunsn7

    Greg Monroe set to have his “Pro Day” with the Phoenix Suns. FO, coaching staff, players, and fans will get a look-see tonight!

    *NFL draft reference for anyone wondering ;)

  • phx suns fan in la

    Sunsn7 I believe your mistaking dudley for jason richardson for not boxing out artest.

  • sunsn7

    Yeah it was JRich who gave up the offensive rebound but Dudley’s lack of court awareness gave Artest the uncontested layup and it bothers me
    every time I see it.

  • Foreveris2long

    Hawk great research on March Madness and Cal poly San Luis Obispo. I also cannot believe you remembered my daughter’s school.

    I saw San Luis Obispo last week in their conference tournament twice. They beat some decent teams to get to the NCAA March Madness but I am not sure how they keep doing it. They have a couple of really athletic guys and good ball handlers but nothing special. They are really disciplined. I cannot believe someone is picking them to beat Wichita State Wichita State is really good.

    I started the day in the Quickens pool by going a perfect 8-0, winning the Harvard and Dayton upsets. In the evening the choking NC State blew a 16 point lead by missing 15 free throws in the 2nd half started by evening collapse. In losing 2 other overtime games, I went 13-3 for the day. I need Nebraska to upset Baylor today.

    Regarding UCLA, I have not seen Tulsa play. Hawki you are going to make me have a beer or two for lunch worrying about UCLA. I have UCLA going to the Final Four. I think Oklahoma State will beat Gonzaga.

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  • bill_thomas

    If I can just become the weed dealer to J Rich I will retire.