Plumlee had originally committed to play at Stanford University for the 2008–09 season, but after Stanford coach Trent Johnson left for LSU and brother Mason had committed to play at Duke the following year, he chose to become a Blue Devil. After serving a limited role his freshman season, Plumlee earned the starting center position over senior Brian Zoubek at the beginning of the 2009–10 season before returning to a bench role later in the season. Plumlee finished the championship-winning season averaging 5. 2 points and 4. 9 rebounds in 16. 4 minutes per game.