NEW YORK -- Mason Plumlee participated in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night, scoring 20 points, grabbing 7 rebounds and collecting 4 steals.
Here are some things you may or may not know about the Brooklyn Nets’ rookie big man:
• He makes his teammates peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before every game.
“Guys just said they wanted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every game with raspberry preserves, strawberry preserves, peanut butter, honey wheat or regular wheat bread,” Plumlee said.
“Guys are really specific.”
We figured we’d test him:
Kevin Garnett? “Strawberry preserves.”
Deron Williams? “Justin’s Almond Butter.”
“I got it down,” he said.
• Plumlee lives in Jersey City and commutes to games via public transportation.
“I like where I live. It’s called Newport, and the people are really nice,” he said. “It’s easy access to New York City, but I’m still on the Jersey side, so I can get to practice too.”
Plumlee can often be spotted around town in the pizza parlor or the grocery store.
“You meet people, and I guess they say ‘We’re Brooklyn fans now,’ so I’ll give them a t-shirt, tickets, whatever,” he said.
So what’s the transition been like?
“I’m not so sure I would’ve said [I like it here] on draft night,” he said. “I was a little apprehensive going from Indiana [where I grew up] to North Carolina [for college]. That’s a lot different than the edge of the Hudson, but now that I’m here, I love it.”
• The first thing Plumlee did after signing his rookie contract was pay back a college loan.
“I took one out so I could have spending money,” he said.
“I went all out and bought a really nice bed, because down at Duke we were in the dorms for two years and I just kinda got whatever,” he said. “I spared no expense. You spend a third of your life in the bed, so I went all out. That’s a good justified purchase, though.”
• When he’s not playing basketball, Plumlee loves to watch movies, hang out with Duke friends who now live in the city and shop. Yes, shop.
“I never thought I’d be a shopper,” he said but he's found he loves the small shops in SoHo.
“They have stuff you can’t find anywhere else,” he said.
• Plumlee's parents both played in college: dad Perky at Tennessee Tech and mom Leslie at Purdue.
“Both of them stopped giving me advise basketball-wise because they’re like, ‘Well, I never played in the NBA so I’m not gonna tell you this or that.’”
• Given his family history and where he grew up in Northern Indiana, Plumlee was destined to play basketball. His older brother Miles, who is in his second NBA season thriving with the Phoenix Suns, loved playing, and Mason “pretty much did whatever Miles did.”
• Plumlee leads all rookies with 55 dunks. In fact, Plumlee has yet to hit a shot outside the paint this season.
He said the first time he could dunk was in eighth grade.
“I remember I got one in a game, and being able to say you can dunk means being able to dunk in a game,” he said.
What did Coach Mike Krzyzewski think of his dunking ability?
“He loved it,” Plumlee said. “But he always wanted more of them. You get three or four dunks in a game, ‘You should’ve had five.’ He’d always say, ‘If I could dunk like you, I’d be dunking on people in so many ways.’ He was funny.”
• Plumlee and his brothers Miles and Marshall (younger) all played for Duke in 2010-11, just the third time three brothers have all played for the same Division I team.
Mason and Miles won a National Championship with the Blue Devils in 2009-10.
Plumlee also has a sister, Maddie, who plays volleyball at Notre Dame.
• Plumlee was once spotted practicing earlier this season after a home game had ended.
The 23-year-old was drafted 22nd overall, but has been one of the better rookies in the league.
He is averaging 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds and has a PER of 18.01, best of all first-year players.
Although he’s been in and out of the rotation, Plumlee has certainly been enjoying himself.
“Playing-wise as a player with limited minutes, you always want to play more, so that’s understood,” he said. “I think people if they know me, they know that.
“But with that being said, with the group of players we’ve had, I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun or learned as much on a basketball team. You look around here and it’s Hall of Famer, Hall of Famer, All-Star, All-Star, All-Star, so I kind of anticipated that. But I didn’t I’d be having as much fun as I am in doing so.”