Auburn basketball: 3 players primed to level up in conference play

Bruce Pearl has an unconventional 11-man rotation right now, but through that massive group of impact players, these three will ascend to lead the team through the SEC.

Auburn Tigers player Chad Baker-Mazara (10)
Auburn Tigers player Chad Baker-Mazara (10) / Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Tre Donaldson. 6'3" 200 lbs. G. . . Sophomore. Tre Donaldson. player. Tre Donaldson. 525

It wasn’t looking great for Donaldson after last season when he averaged 2.5 points in 10.6 minutes across 32 games and Auburn brought in Aden Holloway, the five-star freshman point guard. However, Donaldson has found himself a nice role off the bench, backing up Holloway and soon Pearl may realize he has to lean on his sophomore a bit more than his freshman. 

Holloway has been productive in his 22.5 minutes averaging 10.5 points and 3.9 assists, but he’s doing it on 34% shooting from the field and 36.6% from three. 66.7% of Holloway’s shots have been threes and he’s only made 12 two-point field goals all year. 

The 6-foot-1 freshman is shooting 29.2% from inside the arc. He doesn’t have many turnovers and shoots it well from outside, but SEC teams will get very physical with him and I expect Pearl to turn to Donaldson, who has been much more efficient. 

Donaldson is averaging 7.5 points and 3.5 assists a night while shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three. With a few losses in the SEC, there may come a reckoning for Pearl and his 11-man rotation. He’ll need to play his best players more and Donaldson is one of his best players.

By the end of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is playing more minutes than Holloway, but I don’t expect Holloway to be pulled from the starting lineup.