Auburn basketball's greatest strength is its depth — and it's flexing that early

Jabari Smith leads the Tigers in PER through the first week of the season. The next four players? Every single one of them come off the bench.

SG K.D. Johnson (Matthew Shannon/Auburn Athletics)

During the second half of Auburn basketball’s win over ULM, Bruce Pearl had all five of his starters on the floor after the under-12 timeout.

A few seconds later, Walker Kessler blocked a Warhawk shot off the backboard. The ball was corralled by Jabari Smith, who immediately looked toward his left to hit an outlet pass to point guard Wendell Green Jr.

A ULM player made the heads-up play to get between Smith and Green, so the freshman phenom decided to start the fast break himself. At midcourt, another Warhawk tried to cut him off, so the 6-foot-10 Smith went behind the back — a move that showcased skill, awareness and smoothness that’s rare for players his size.

Smith kept driving, planting his foot just inside the free-throw line and slipping between two more defenders for a finger roll layup.

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