Auburn basketball: Auburn’s 2019 signing class’s breakout stretch

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers reacts against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers reacts against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Isaac Okoro went from a borderline four/five star recruit, to a fringe first round pick to a top five pick. But outside of Okoro, Allen Flanigan being a defensive wizard and a few scoring outbursts from Devan Cambridge, Auburn basketball’s 2019 class looked like it needed another off season to reach its potential.

At one point, Cambridge went nearly two weeks without scoring a single point.

Things have started to change since then. Cambridge is currently shooting over 45-percent from three since breaking out of his last slump, and Jaylin Williams has broken onto the scene and become one of Auburn’s most exciting freshmen.

Now Auburn fans are starting to see how special their 2019 signing class can be, especially if it gets paired up with players such as Sharife Cooper, Jalen Green and Greg Brown from the 2020 class.

Outside of Okoro, none of Auburn’s freshmen were rated inside the top 100 of the 2019 class (although a couple of them were close) but Auburn’s freshmen have had a few out-of-world games already.

Cambridge being one of them. When Cambridge started playing with the Athletes of Tomorrow AAU team alongside Cooper and other Auburn targets, Cambridge earned himself a reputation as one of the best athletes in America. That resulted in even more interest from schools like West Virginia and offers from the likes of Oregon and auburn, before Cambridge committed to Auburn

Cambridge was seen as more of a prospect by many experts. I even said he could be a red shirt candidate before the seasson, but Cambridge’s improvement and contributions show how bright his future is, and the freshman has already (almost by himself at times) saved Auburn from a few losses.

And for a prospect who was thought of as an athlete, Cambridge has been a dead-eye from three in multiple games this season.

Cambridge has still done plenty of insanely athletic things, like finishing off high flying alley oops and erasing layups with chase down blocks, but everyone knew he could do that coming into Auburn. What’s surprising, and what highlights how good of a player Cambridge can be, is the fact that Cambridge has had streaks where he shoots from three like Bryce Brown.

Cambridge has had scoring outings of 26 points and 21 points against South Carolina and LSU. Both outbursts helped Auburn win. And both times, Cambridge shot 67-percent or better from three on nine or more attempts.

Cambridge has also had eight games where he shot 50 percent or better from three.

But on the other hand, Cambridge has had 11 games where he scored zero points, in addition to two stretches of conference play when he all but disappeared.

The first stretch was between Mississippi State and Florida, when Cambridge scored just four points in a five game stretch.

The second stretch was between Iowa State and Arkansas, where Cambridge scored zero points in four games.

Cambridge came back from the first stretch with a 26-point outing against South Carolina, and has come out of the second stretch with 21 points against LSU and what might be the most consistent play we’ve seen from him all year.

Cambridge is averaging 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and shooting a whopping 45.2 percent from three in the five games since coming out of his shooting slump.

Freshmen go through stretches of inconsistent play, it happens, but Cambridge showing signs of consistency, good shooting and high scoring ability is a good thing. Cambridge will have a chance to take a huge leap this off season, with more minutes and more work added to the experience and athleticism he’ll have after this season. His shooting ability, once paired with a better handle and more opportunities, could make Cambridge one of Auburn’s best severely underrated prospects since Brown.

Williams, on the other hand, is coming onto the scene at Auburn for the first time. Unlike Cambridge, who has contributed in close games since day one, Williams didn’t log more than five minutes of playing time in one game until Feb. 19.

Williams had to fight from behind multiple senior starters and a lottery pick to get his time to shine.

In his last two games, Williams is averaging 7.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 block on 63.6 percent shooting.

Williams’ has also included a Sports Center top 10 worthy highlight in each of his last two games. The first being his off-the-backboard alley-oop (which he threw to himself) and the second being his behind the back assist to Anfernee McLemore … or maybe it was his tip in dunk … or maybe the man is just a walking highlight reel.

Either way, Auburn has only let four of its freshmen loose this year and all have been impressive.

Tyrell “Turbo” Jones, Babatunde “Stretch” Akingbola and newcomer Javon Franklin haven’t had their chance yet, but if the rest of Auburn’s 2019 class is any indication, they’ll take full advantage of the opportunity once it comes to them.

On top of that, the defensive prowess, athleticism and breakout potential of Auburn 2019 signing class, paired with the scoring ability and star power of Auburn’s 2020 targets and commits could be the perfect combination for the Tigers.