You'll get no argument from Mason Plumlee's teammates or coaches as to whether he deserved a slot on Team USA. They know.
Tim Bontemps spoke with them this week as part of his profile of the Nets big man ... and no surprise, they credited his toughness, work ethic and defense.
"[Plumlee’s] a great communicator," Thibodeau said, comparing Plumlee to his Nets teammate and former Thibodeau charge, Kevin Garnett. "You see that he sees things early. He’s a multiple-effort guy. That’s what Kevin is, and any time a young guy has an opportunity to be around a guy like Kevin, it’s very beneficial.
"Kevin is a great player and just the way Mason developed last season, I thought he had a great year and I think it’s carrying over into the summer. He’s a guy that plays with a lot of confidence."
It's not just confidence either that's driving Plumlee.
"He’s a man out there. He’s not scared of nobody," said DeMar DeRozan, describing his teammate as "A tough, tough, big man. Honestly, it’s hard to find a lot of tough guys like him, especially at his age and being in his first year in the league."
Bontemps also got Jerry Colangelo to describe how Plumlee moved up. It was the Team USA Managing Director who elevated Plumlee from the USA Select practice squad to Team USA so there would be an even 20 players to work out. From there, it was all Plumlee.
"He was good enough those early couple of days, it seems like a year ago now, but that he showed really well and made a big impression," Colangelo told Bontemps. "His size, his versatility, he’s low maintenance, everything about him made us go, ‘You know what? He might have a shot here.’
- Nets youngster secures himself a Plum’ assignment - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
Mason Plumlee a surprise but fitting choice to round out Team USA roster - Brett Strelow - Fayetteville Observer