Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Plumlee Makes Team USA; The Goal is Gold

By Lenn Robbins | @lennrobbins

The dream started taking shape some 18 years ago, when Mason Plumlee’s parents took him to see the 1996 U.S. Olympic team play an exhibition game.

“I remember seeing Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill, it was that team," said Plumlee. "They were really good. They won by about 50 or 60. I remember just being in awe.

“As soon as I saw that team I said, ‘I want to do this.’ It’s a special opportunity. I couldn’t be happier."

The dream came true early Saturday morning when USA Basketball announced that the Brooklyn Nets power forward/center was one of 12 players selected to represent this country in the upcoming FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Plumlee originally was invited to join the Select Team. That group was supposed to be nothing more than practice fodder for the Elite team.

But by the time the team broke camp in Las Vegas, the 6-11, 235-pound Plumlee had been called up to the Elite team and had been told a spot on the roster was his to lose.

He continued to cement his place as the first center off the bench behind Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans with his solid play. Plumlee scored four points on 2-of-3 shooting, grabbed five rebounds and made two steals in the team’s 112-86 win over Puerto Rico Friday night.

“The first day, when I was on the Select Team and we were practicing against the older guys, I had my best practice, probably offensively,’’ Plumlee said. “I scored the most. I created a lot of things. That’s what pulled me up to practice with the Elite guys. To me, I gained respect among Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, those guys."

For Plumlee, 24, this accomplishment has special meaning. He has friends that have served in the military, as well as close relatives on both sides of his family."

When the team practiced at West Point on Monday, Plumlee felt a deep connection with the men and women in uniform."

"Coach K says it best: ‘This is the greatest team in the world."’ Plumlee said.

The U.S. team has one more tuneup against Slovenia on August 26 (2 p.m.; ESPN2) before beginning play in the FIBA World Cup against Finland on August 30 (3:30 p.m.; ESPN).

“As an organization we are excited for Mason," said Nets GM Billy King. “He has worked extremely hard to put himself in this position."

That has been Plumlee’s M.O. throughout his career at Duke and his rookie season with the Nets. He works hard at his craft and plays within himself.

There’s little doubt Plumlee’s role on the Nets will be more significant in 2014-15 and this experience with the National Team will prove to be a tremendous benefit.

“I think I’m a much better player,’’ Plumlee said. “Much more confident. Much more trusting of my skills and what I can do. Really, how I played in the games and with this team is similar to how I played in Brooklyn. But doing it at the highest level with other talent on the floor, it gives you confidence. That’s something I’ll carry forward to the next season."

As he stood in the hallway leading to the U.S. locker room after the win over Puerto Rico, Plumlee shared a moment with King before meeting with the media. He talked about how he’s learned from playing with the likes of James Harden and Stephen Curry, how confident and decisive they are with the ball.

When asked if it sunk in, realizing this dream that began when he was an eight-year-old, Plumlee nodded.

“It’s a dream come true,’’ Plumlee said. “It’s a great step in the right direction for me as a player. It’s something I’m proud of but I’m also grateful for it. It’s a responsibility.

“Making the team is not the goal. Winning the gold is the goal."

Chris Carrino’s 5th Annual FSHD Fundraiser

Nets broadcaster Chris Carrino discusses how the condition has affected his life, how he plans to help others, and what the future holds.

Playlist 050814

Scroll Video up Scroll Video down Scroll Video left Scroll Video right

Chris Carrino’s 5th Annual FSHD Fundraiser

Nets broadcaster Chris Carrino discusses how the condition has affected his life, how he plans to help others, and what the future holds.
Jul 31, 2015  |  02:03

2015-16 Brooklynettes Auditions Day 1

Over 300 dancers auditioned to join the 2015-16 Brooklynettes. Get a behind the scenes look at the competition for a coveted spot on the squad.
Jul 30, 2015  |  01:43

Mikhail Prokhorov's Message for Nets Fans

Nets Principal Owner Mikhail Prokhorov talks about the current state of the team, what he’s looking forward to, and updates Brooklyn fans on the subject of his bachelorhood.
Jul 28, 2015  |  01:41

Hollins, King to Rep Nets in NBA Africa Game

Coach Hollins will be the Head Coach of Team World and Nets GM Billy King will act as General Manager of Team Africa for the game on Aug. 1.
Jul 27, 2015  |  00:48

Lionel Hollins Talks About Summer League

Coach Lionel Hollins discusses the teams summer league performance.
Jul 21, 2015  |  01:35

Markel Brown Talks Summer League Experience

The Nets guard talks about his experience playing NBA Summer League for the second time around and having more of a leadership role with the squad.
Jul 20, 2015  |  01:21

RHJ Talks Summer League Experience

The Nets rookie looks back on the last couple of weeks of NBA Summer League play in Orlando and Las Vegas.
Jul 19, 2015  |  01:25

Nets vs. D-League Select

Justin Dentmon scores 16 points as the D-League Select Team defeats the Nets 85-64.
Jul 17, 2015  |  01:05

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Shows Off Ping Pong Skills

Nets rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson played his second big game of the night, participating in the NBA Summer League Charity Table Tennis Tournament at The Palms in Las Vegas.
Jul 16, 2015  |  01:39

Nets Fan Talks About Summer League

Brooklyn Nets Fan talks about the teams youth for years to come and how excited he is to see the team play in NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV.
Jul 16, 2015  |  00:42

Sixers vs. Nets

Markel Brown scores 23 points as the Nets take down the Sixers 75-68.
Jul 15, 2015  |  01:09

Stop and Pop: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Get to know Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as he speaks on his dance moves and the funniest person he knows.
Jul 15, 2015  |  00:29

Hollis-Jefferson Block

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson denies Jamal Jones at the rim.
Jul 15, 2015  |  00:18

Ryan Boatright and Willie Reed Talk Summer League

The Nets Summer League players share their expectations for the Las Vegas tournament.
Jul 14, 2015  |  01:28

Nets vs. Bulls

Ryan Boatright scores 21 points including the game-winning three point play as the Nets edge the Bulls by one, 87-86.
Jul 14, 2015  |  01:12

Boatright Seals the Deal

Ryan Boatright banks in the tough and-one shot to tie the game late, then sinks the game-winning free throw to seal the deal.
Jul 14, 2015  |  01:24

Ryan Boatright Postgame

Ryan Boatright talks postgame after putting the team on his back and leading the Nets to a comeback victory over Bulls 87-86.
Jul 14, 2015  |  01:03

Reed Up High For The Putback

Willie Reed goes up high for the putback slam during summer league action.
Jul 14, 2015  |  00:15

Boatright at the Buzzer

Markel Brown finds Ryan Boatright who drills the corner triple to beat the shot clock.
Jul 14, 2015  |  00:14

Billy King: "Fresh Start" for Bargnani

Nets GM Billy King comments on decision to sign power forward Andrea Bargnani.
Jul 13, 2015  |  00:40

Lopez, Jack Cheer for Nets Rookies at Summer League

Sitting in the stands, Brook Lopez, Jarrett Jack, Wayne Ellington and Shane Larkin share what they learned from playing at NBA Summer League.
Jul 13, 2015  |  01:22

NBA Summer League: Pelicans vs. Nets

Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 26 points and grabbed 3 rebounds to lead the Pelicans past the Nets, 89-83.
Jul 13, 2015  |  01:03

Summer League Workouts

After a hard fought victory last night in Las Vegas over the Cavaliers, the Nets took to the gym this morning for a light workout on their day off.
Jul 12, 2015  |  00:55

Billy King Press Conference

General Manager Billy King speaks to the media about point guard Deron Williams being waived after four seasons with the Brooklyn Nets.
Jul 12, 2015  |  01:11

Nets Take Subway to Sign Their Contracts

Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young, Shane Larkin and Thomas Robinson get a feel for the neighborhood as they take the subway to Barclays Center to sign their contracts.
Jul 9, 2015  |  01:20

Nets vs. Orlando White

Keith Appling records 19 points and six steals, Scottie Wilbekin adds 11 points as Orlando White defeats the Nets.
Jul 9, 2015  |  00:44

Markel Brown and Rookies Talk Orlando Summer League

Markel Brown, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough on what they’ve learned so far.
Jul 8, 2015  |  01:08

Nets Summer League Continues in Florida

Brooklyn Nets rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson settles into the Orlando Summer League routine, talks passion for the game and being ready to play.
Jul 7, 2015  |  01:02

NBA Summer League: Nets vs. Hornets

Frank Kaminsky records 11 points and six rebounds, Troy Daniels adds a double-double as the Hornets defeat the Nets.
Jul 7, 2015  |  01:28

Related Content