This article is part of our Freshman Haze series.
Fantasy college basketball is back and with it the torrent of numbers has begun to spill. With just three days in the books, there are plenty of surprises and disappointments (hello, Kentucky!). Freshmen can provide some of the biggest surprises and in the initial Freshman Haze of the season, we will look at seven first-year players who had big performances in the opening weekend. While most people like to write "it is early, but…" we are going to take a more positive approach and write: it is early, and… Can these players be productive or were their early games a bit of a fluke?
Jaylen Newell (G)
When Lorenzo Romar was released from his contract, he took most of his shiny toys out the door with him (i.e. Michael Porter Jr.). Newell, a 6-foot-4 guard from Seattle, decided to stick around and see what coach Mike Hopkins would bring. He exploded out of the gates with a 32-point performance in the win over Belmont. He came back to earth on Sunday with just 10 points against Eastern Washington. It was a great sign that he did not force himself into the action: Newell took just five shots. He is going to keep getting big minutes and should be a productive freshman.
Zhaire Smith (G)
Early season blowouts are a reason why first-year players get extra playing time. In the opener, the Red Raiders handled South Alabama without much problem, so coach Chris Beard was able to rest his starting guards