Desmond Cambridge had visited the state of Nevada only once in his life, that being a trip to Las Vegas. But as soon as the transfer from Brown landed in Reno for his official visit starting Sunday, he knew the fit was right.
“It’s completely just beautiful," said Cambridge, who committed to the Wolf Pack on Tuesday morning. "I love the weather. I had only been to Las Vegas once for a basketball tournament. This place is beautiful, the snow-capped mountains, we went to Lake Tahoe and that was probably my favorite part of the visit.”
And the fit with the basketball team was just as good, Cambridge said.
“Coach (Steve) Alford and the staff, they were really open about everything," Cambridge said. "The culture here is all about family and everything is here to get me to the next level. And they have connections that can go a long way. I just love this place.”
A 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard, Cambridge ranked fourth in the Ivy League in scoring last season at 15.7 points per game, adding 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals per contest. He made 37.2 percent of his shots, including 31.8 percent from three. As a freshman, Desmond was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year after averaging 17.3 points per game.
Since he's a transfer, Cambridge must redshirt next season and will have two years of eligibility at Nevada starting in 2020-21. He originally trimmed his list of potential destinations to Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Stanford in late April before re-opening his recruitment. That's when Nevada's new staff reached out.
“It was really just out of the blue," Cambridge said. "I didn’t really know anybody. The original coaching staff had made connections when I first went in the transfer portal. I went down to my final three and reopened it and then (Nevada assistant) Coach (Kory) Barnett and the new coaching staff reached back out.”
In Cambridge, the Wolf Pack gets a strong scorer who is looking to increase his efficiency. Cambridge has scored 25-plus points in 12 college games, including a 25-point, four-rebound, two-assist, two-steal effort in a blowout at San Diego State last season. Cambridge made 9-of-15 shots in that win, which helped give him the belief he can play in the Mountain West.
“I’m just a pure elite scorer," Cambridge said. "I think I can transfer that easily to here and I did play against San Diego State and I had a really good game and that should be enough for the fans to know. During the (redshirt) year, I plan on working on my shot selection and knowing what good shots are and what bad shots are, and I want to improve my overall game making reads and making plays for other people.
“I’m definitely excited to play in this league and with Nevada being a top team the last couple of years, I’m definitely going to be able to play at a high level against great teams and really show what I can do in this system.”
Cambridge, originally from Tennessee, was an unranked player coming out of high school before lifting his profile at Brown. He's hopeful his younger brother, Devan, a 6-foot-6 guard who played last season for Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix will join him at Nevada at some point. The younger Cambridge averaged 13 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game for Hillcrest, a national-level program teeming with high-major players. He shot 49 percent from the field, including 38 percent from three.
“My brother is the most athletic dude in the country," Cambridge said. "I’ll definitely try and get him up here. He may have to go through another channel, maybe JuCo route, but I definitely want to get him up here.”
Cambridge said he expects to return to Reno on June 8 for summer school and summer practice. Cambridge's commitment gives Nevada four players in its 2019 recruiting class as he joins junior-college wing player Eric Parrish, French guard Kane Milling and Kansas prep big man Zane Meeks.