By DeJanay Booth, photograph by Mike Galloucis
A sea of cadets marched along the road to Olive Theater for training. Their feet hit the pavement in unison and the structure of their bodies was straight and solid. In the middle stood one man whose head poked up taller than the rest. The back of his cap read “Plumlee.”
Cadet Marshall Plumlee stands seven feet tall and wears size 17 shoes. But his height is not the only aspect that separates him from most of his fellow cadets.
He plays center for Duke University’s basketball team, which won the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Plumlee said winning the championship was one of his proudest moments playing for the team.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “It has made me a better person. I feel like a lot of things I’ve learned on the court translate to what I do out here with ROTC.”
After graduating from Duke University in May, Plumlee will return for graduate school in the fall. Shortly after Cadet Summer Training, he will go straight into practice for next season. His coach, Mike Krzyzewski, came from West Point in New York and installed basic Army values into practice.
Athleticism runs in his family. Both parents played college basketball. All three of his siblings play sports, including his two older brothers, Miles and Mason, who play for the NBA (Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets). With the help of his brothers, Plumlee’s skills manifested into the athlete he is today.
“They support me in any way from basketball to what I’m doing now in the Army,” he said. “I’m grateful for [my family’s] support. I hope they’re proud of me.”
When he was a junior in high school, Plumlee became intrigued with the Army after visiting a base in Germany. He met Lt. Gen. Robert Brown who is nearly as tall as him. Brown became a mentor and helped Plumlee make a dream into reality.
Plumlee did not have as much experience with ROTC as his fellow cadets, but said he is more than ready to serve. He hopes to play for the NBA as well as become an Army officer and work in field artillery. But as passionate as he is about the Army, Plumlee is anxious about summer training and the challenges it brings.
“It is an honor to be surrounded by motivated people who are genuinely interested in making a cadet as good as they can be,” he said. “ I’ve met a lot of inspiring people [here at CST]. I’m happy I get a chance to work with [them].”