This article is part of our Freshman Haze series.
When opportunity knocks, players need to be ready. The seven players in this week's Freshman Haze have been ready to play big minutes, whether they were named a starter in November or joined the starting lineup more recently. Injuries and player departures have opened the door for a few of the freshman (Diarra, Horn, Maluach), while others have been starting all season. Diarra and Davis could play a big role in whether their teams play in the NCAA Tournament, which would have been hard to believe for either Kansas State or Stanford just a few weeks ago.
Cartier Diarra (G)
The Wildcats figured to be in trouble after guard Kamau Stokes broke a bone in his foot two weeks ago. While Kansas State misses Stokes (13.4 points and 41.3 percent from the 3-point line), Diarra has moved into the starting lineup and helped the team win three of its last four games, including back-to-back games against Oklahoma and TCU. The 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman provided 17.0 points in his first three games a starter before being held to six points in the win over TCU on Saturday. He almost fell out of the rotation in December, but has made the most of his starting opportunity.
Daejon Davis (G)
Handing the ball to a freshman point guard is an act of faith by a coach. Coach Jerrod Haase decided early on that the 6-3 Davis was going to control the ball for the Cardinal. There were some bumps in nonconference play, but