Barry McNamara  |  Published February 08, 2024

‘The Putback’

In rivalry game, a most memorable shot by a most interesting Fighting Scot keeps Monmouth in strong postseason position.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The player his men’s basketball teammates call “the most interesting man in the world” just hit the most memorable shot of the season, lifting Monmouth College to a 65-64 victory over archrival Knox Tuesday night.

Sophomore center Turner Plumer of Canton, Illinois, made a putback of a missed free throw at the buzzer to lift the Fighting Scots to the dramatic road win and bolster their chances of securing a Midwest Conference playoff berth. A loss in the back-and-forth contest, which had 17 lead changes and 12 ties, would have left the Scots and Prairie Fire in a three-way tie for the fourth and final spot, but now Monmouth has some breathing room.

Coach Todd Skrivseth’s team can solidify its postseason position Saturday against one of the other contenders, Ripon. Tip-off for the Scots’ final home game of the season at Glennie Gym is 3 p.m.


The science guy

Back to basketball momentarily but, in the meantime, Plumer’s nickname deserves some attention, too.

TURNER PLUMER: There's been no sophomore slump for the 6-foot-5 post player, who's scoring average is up nearly eig... TURNER PLUMER: There's been no sophomore slump for the 6-foot-5 post player, who's scoring average is up nearly eight points from his freshman season.“Back at home, I’m into stock car racing and dirt track racing,” said the 6-foot-5 Plumer, who grew “too big” for youth racing cars at age 8 but sticks with the behind-the-wheel part of his hobby through a driving simulator in his dorm room. “I know how to work on cars. Since a young age, my dad taught me how to build things and work with tools. So I’ve built this toolbox for myself of doing a lot of work like that.”

It didn’t take long for his teammates to realize the post player’s off-court skills could come in handy.

“They’d say ‘My car won’t start,’ and I’d help them out,” said Plumer. “I’m good with technology stuff, too, and I’m able to solve some of those kinds of issues they might have and help them out.”

“Since a young age, my dad taught me how to build things and work with tools. So I’ve built this toolbox for myself of doing a lot of work like that.” – Turner Plumer


Appropriately, Plumer is an engineering major, and a strong one, at that, carrying a 3.97 GPA.

“I really enjoy learning how things are built and how they work,” said Plumer, who’s focusing on mechanical engineering but also plans to “add a couple courses” and have an electrical engineering focus, as well. “I just want to get a job that’s hands-on, building and designing things.”

Plumer’s love of car racing and technology merge in the videos he makes for his local track, the Spoon River Speedway. Skrivseth showed off one of those videos for Allen Brothers Racing while discussing his valuable big man.

“He’s a very quiet guy until you get him on a certain topic – car racing or woodworking, things like that. He’s a tremendous teammate and very much respected by the guys.” – Todd Skrivseth 

“He’s a very quiet guy until you get him on a certain topic – car racing or woodworking, things like that,” said Skrivseth. “He’s a tremendous teammate and very much respected by the guys. He’s a hard worker and you get the same person every single day. That’s a nice luxury. I’m fortunate to be able to coach him.”


A prize recruit

Skrivseth considered it a recruiting coup when Plumer chose Monmouth coming out of Canton High School.

“He was a highly sought-after recruit and a big one for us to get,” he said. “His high school team didn’t have a lot of success, but you could see his explosiveness and athleticism. We needed some size, and the major matched up, as well. He was definitely a guy we identified as one we wanted to get.”

THE RIGHT STUFF: Plumer throws down a dunk in the Scots' Nov. 21 victory against Blackburn. THE RIGHT STUFF: Plumer throws down a dunk in the Scots' Nov. 21 victory against Blackburn.It’s not uncommon to see Plumer dunk at a game, a skill he first showed off on social media as a high school freshman.

“I don’t remember the first time I ever dunked, but the first time everybody found out that I could was during offseason workouts with the football guys, when our coach had me dunk and put it on one of his Twitter posts as a way to show that hard work in the weight room pays off,” said Plumer.

Also a wide receiver and defensive back on Canton’s football team, Plumer said a phrase from his high school hoops coach has resonated through the years.

“If I had a good night, he’d come up to me and say, ‘That’s the Turner Plumer we need every game,’” he said. “That always sticks with me.”

His explosiveness allows the player – who Skrivseth was counting on as a power forward this season – to go up against bigger opponents.

“He was kind of forced into that this year when Yuvraj (Sidhu) went down with an ankle issue that has lingered all season,” said Skrivseth. “He’s a little undersized for the center position, but he’s done a really nice job for us. He’s deceptively strong and extremely explosive, and he’s really developed the use of both hands around the basket. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s been absolutely huge for us.”

HE'S GOT SKILLS: This example of Plumer's woodworking is a tribute to his father, who is an assistant chief with th... HE'S GOT SKILLS: This example of Plumer's woodworking is a tribute to his father, who is an assistant chief with the Canton Fire Department.Plumer credits that confidence for helping him raise his scoring significantly from his freshman season, when he averaged 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds. This year, Plumer is scoring at a 10.8 clip on 54.2% shooting and pulling down 4.5 boards per game.


‘The Putback’

No rebound is bigger than his most recent one against Knox.

“When (Kyle Taylor) was at the line with 1.4 seconds to go (and the Scots down two), I thought for sure he’s making both of them,” said Plumer of the sharp-shooting sophomore point guard.

Taylor did make the first, but the second one “rattled out,” said Plumer. “Max (Maring) tipped the rebound, and I think he even touched it twice. Then it just came off the backboard straight to me and I got off a quick shot. It fell in as the buzzer went off.”

“Max (Maring) tipped the rebound, and I think he even touched it twice. Then it just came off the backboard straight to me and I got off a quick shot. It fell in as the buzzer went off.” – Turner Plumer


“During Knox’s time-out after the first free throw, I told Max and Turner to cross on the rebound, but don’t foul anybody,” said Skrivseth. “I was walking up to the ref to get ready to call a time-out and set our defense to hopefully get us to overtime, then all that transpired.”

Plumer was immediately swarmed by his joyful teammates.

“That was pretty cool, but I was just looking around between them to see the refs and if they’d counted the shot,” he said. “I never did see, but then I saw the points on the scoreboard.”

For Plumer, who secured his first collegiate double-double with the rebound, finishing with 13 points and 10 boards, it’s a new top highlight on a rapidly expanding list of big moments. Another occurred last month when his two free throws with under a minute to go lifted the Scots to a 60-59 win at Ripon.

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