Ashley Battle and Maddie Plumlee have much in common.
Both come from families rich in basketball tradition. Both are standout high school athletes in the Triangle. Battle and Plumlee are tall, can leap high while maintaining excellent mid-air body control and with enough hand-eye coordination to defend against opponents’ shots.
Basketball is in their blood.
But not in their hearts.
Though both have made plans to play in the ACC, their love is volleyball, not basketball.
Battle, the daughter of former N.C. State basketball standouts and the sister of a college player; and Plumlee, the daughter of two former college basketball players and sister of three current and former Duke men’s players, face a pressure common to tall, athletic female athletes in this basketball-crazed state. Either play hoops or explain why you don’t.
In the past two years, it wasn’t uncommon for Battle to see teacher Sean Crocker, the Middle Creek football coach at the time, make a pitch to her to play basketball when she would run into him in the halls of the school. Crocker would make an a imaginary jump shot, then quizzically look at her. She would laugh. Battle was used to the sentiment.
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