The news of Seth Curry's transfer might have dominated the Duke Basketball headlines on Monday morning, but the incoming Blue Devil duo of Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee stole the show in their own right Monday night with outstanding performances in the McDonald's All-American Game skills competition at the BankUnited Center in Miami.
Starting off in the 3-point competition, the 6-foot-10 Kelly knocked down 16 3-point shots, including 4-of-5 2-point "moneyball" shots. Kelly's final tally of 20 points edged out a late charging Tommy Mason-Griffin (headed to play for Jeff Capel at Oklahoma) and his 18 points, giving the Ravenscroft product the 3-point shooting crown.
That Kelly would do well in a 3-point shooting contest should be no surprise to most who have followed his recruitment, as outside shooting has always been cited as one of his major strengths. But the real surprise came minutes later in the slam dunk competition with the athletic and acrobatic performance of Plumlee. Competing in a field of high-flyers that included perhaps the nation's top big man in Georgia Tech-bound Derrick Favors, the lanky 6-foot-11 Plumlee more than held his own with a pair of impressive first-round dunks.
On his first attempt, a teammate bounced the ball off the left side of the backboard while Plumlee went baseline from the three-point arc, snagged the rebounded ball and flushed it with a smooth two-handed jam to earn a score of 88 out of a possible 90 points. Then on his second attempt, Plumlee shot the ball short of the rim, grabbed it on the bounce and sailed underneath the basket on a one-handed reverse dunk. The performance drew a perfect score of 90 and all but ensured that Plumlee would advance on to the final round of the competition, as Plumlee finished in second place for the preliminary round with an aggregate score of 178.
In the finals, Plumlee faced off against the third-place Favors and first-place finisher Avery Bradley (committed to Texas), who was the only player to score a pair of perfect 90-point dunks in the first round. Evoking Billy Thompson in the 1990 NBA Slam Dunk Contest (see video at 1:08 mark) on his first attempt, Plumlee tried to dunk multiple basketballs simultaneously, running up for the dunk with one ball in each of his hands and a third wedged in between the two. It appeared that he was trying to drop the middle ball into the basket before slamming the other two down separately, but he lost his handle on a few tries before finally settling for a Vince Carter-style (see video at 1:48 mark) elbow hang dunk before the 45-second time limit expired, earning a score of 76. On his final attempt of the night, Plumlee threw down a reverse, over-the-head two handed jam after cradling the ball in one hand on his way to the rack, earning 85 points to finish with a second round total of 161. That mark, however, was not enough to edge out Bradley, who won the competition with a final score of 164. Still, the performance was impressive and cast aside doubts about Plumlee's athletic ability.
For those of you who missed the contest, individual highlights aren't yet available on ESPN.com, but you can watch the full contest via ESPN360.com. If you did see the competition on Monday night, what did you think about the performances of Kelly and Plumlee?