Desmond Cambridge ’21 may be just a freshman, but his stand-out performances this season have earned the men’s basketball team three much-needed wins against Ivy League rivals. He scored a total of 62 points in two games this weekend, three of which came on a game-winning shot with just four seconds left in overtime against Princeton. Cambridge, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, has been named Ivy League Rookie of the Week six times and Ivy League Player of the Week twice. For his outstanding performance in Saturday’s contest, which snapped Princeton’s 19-game home winning streak, Cambridge has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: Congratulations on the great win last weekend! Can you talk about the game-winning shot?
Cambridge: We were down two, and coach set up a play for me to get the shot. (The team) knows all of our live plays — the plan was to call out the play so everyone syncs in and acts like I’m going to the basket, and I would fake it and come out for the three pointer. Then Brandon (Anderson ’20) would kick it out to me. As you can see, it didn’t really work out that way. The ball rolled out, but I was supposed to shoot it. So I was like what the heck, just go for it. Even though it was kind of a crazy shot, I actually practice those shots and it went in. It felt good.
After losing a tough game to Penn the night before, how hard was it to come out and play well a day later?
It was definitely tough. (The Penn game) was heartbreaking because it was basically like the same situation (as the Princeton game). It turns out I was the one who actually missed the game-tying free throws and that really, really hurt. So that whole night I was thinking about (those misses). It was tough, but all of our games are back-to-back, so you just have to push that aside. We want to make it to the tournament, so you have to be ready to play.
How did you first get into basketball?
My whole family has been playing our whole lives. I have seven siblings, and we all played. My dad played in college, too. So I’ve been playing ever since I was little.
Why did you choose Brown?
My dad wanted me to play as high a level of basketball (as) I could. But my mom wanted the academic side. I felt like (Brown) was the best of both worlds.
What are your personal and team goals for the rest of the season?
For personal goals, it would probably be to win (Ivy League) Rookie of the Year. For team goals, it would be to win the Ivy League Championship.
Are you surprised at how well you have played as a freshman?
Not really. I expected to make an impact this year, but I honestly didn’t think I’d be playing this well. So being that I am, I’m just happy that I’m doing it.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
After we eat our pre-game meal, I definitely take a nap for like an hour, or (an) hour and fifteen (minutes) while listening to music. Then I just go into the locker room and sit there for a while, and just think to myself or have on music. Then I just go and get my shots up about two hours before the game. That’s it.
What are you concentrating in and what are your goals after graduation?
I am majoring in engineering and (want to get) a Bachelor’s degree. After, I’m hoping to further my career in basketball. When that ends, I don’t really have a particular path for what I want to do. With all of the networking here, I’m sure I’ll find something.
Do you have any overarching aims for your career as a Brown basketball player?
I haven’t really thought that far yet — right now I’m just trying to take this one day at a time. Being that it’s just my freshman year, I just want to win Rookie of the Year and make it to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bears will take the court against Cornell Friday and Columbia Saturday at the Pizzitola Sports Center.