This article is part of our College Basketball Waiver Wire series.
College basketball's regular season has just three weeks remaining, and many season-long leagues are at, or nearing, their playoff matchups. Below you'll find a handful of names who are surging at the right time of the year and could help impact your postseason.
Christian Keeling, G, North Carolina
Loyal readers know this column has been a revolving door of Tar Heels, with Keeling having already been featured here previously. But this time, he finally looks to have turned a corner and is playing with confidence. Keeling has now scored in double figures in four straight while seeing a minutes increase in each contest, topping out at 33 Saturday against Virginia. Despite being a defensive liability to his team, Keeling has managed seven steals in his last four, and having now replaced Andrew Platek in the starting lineup, he should stumble his way into a few rebounds as well.
Nik Popovic, F, Boston College
Popovic is another repeat to this column, but his return to the starting lineup and fantasy relevance was slower than originally anticipated following a back injury that cost him nine games earlier in the year. He finally started Sunday against North Carolina State and provided 14 points, eight rebounds and four steals in 32 minutes. The outing came on the heels of a 10-point, six-board, six-assist outing. The big man has been a surprise defensive contributor as well, averaging 2.6 steals over his last five games.
Jahaad Proctor, G, Purdue
When Proctor starts, he's been productive. He put up 14.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.4 apg and 1.4 spg in the first nine games of the year before his minutes and production completely dried up in December and January. Last week, however, Proctor put up 15 points and four assists against Penn State, then moved into the starting lineup Saturday against OSU, and responded with 15 points, three rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes. If we assume that's his role moving forward, he's well worth adding in most formats.
Ryan Kriener, F, Iowa
Kriener is an add for Big 10 players only, and maybe only as a handcuff for those who have rostered CJ Fredrick. Fredrick missed Sunday's game after playing just 11 minutes earlier in the week due to an ankle injury. Kriener assumed the starting role with Fredrick sidelined, and produced a solid 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. That last number is the appeal, as the big man could provide a nice short-term boost if you're chasing in that category.
Solomon Young, F, Iowa State
It's probably no surprise the Cyclones have taken a week to sort through their rotation following Tyrese Haliburton's season-ending injury. We featured Rasir Bolton here last week, but he's struggled in two games without Haliburton. While not suggesting moving on from Bolton, it's Young who has elevated his play without ISU's star guard, averaging 16.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks in just 23 minutes nightly. His play clearly merits more minutes, and more fantasy attention. Teammate Prentiss Nixon merits consideration as well, as he's assumed Haliburton's spot in the starting lineup and put up 13.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.5 apg and 1.0 spg in the last two contests.
Alpha Diallo, G, Providence
In larger player pools, it's not outlandish to think Diallo was dropped due to his mid-season funk, going through a four-game stretch in mid-January averaging only 6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists while briefly losing his starting job. All of that seems like a thing of the past, and Diallo had a monster week last week, totaling 54 points, 27 rebounds, six assists and two steals against St. John's and Seton Hall. Confirming Diallo is owned won't take much time and is the prudent thing to do.
Julian Champagnie, F, St. John's
Champagnie has started three straight after a six-game stretch as a reserve, and that role figures to remain stable moving forward with Mustapha Heron likely out for the year due to an ankle injury. He may not be the most consistent scorer, but Champagnie can certainly crash the glass, averaging 8.3 boards in those three contests. He's capable of mixing in some defensive numbers as well.
Daniel Utomi, F, USC
Utomi has now started 11 straight, but has seen a surge in production over the last two weeks, averaging 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in his last four games, twice topping 20 points. Some of that production is likely to tail off when Onyeka Okongwu (concussions) returns, which appears imminent, but with limited production coming from their backcourt, the Trojans need Utomi's late surge to continue as they hope to secure a tournament bid.
Emanuel Miller, F, Texas A&M
Miller seems worthy of a speculative add after a productive week that saw him combine for 40 points and 13 rebounds in two contests, putting up his second double-double in four games in the process. He's started every game since December 8, so opportunity hasn't been his problem. It's possible the game is slowing down for the freshman and the lightbulb is coming on.
Xavier Pinson, G, Missouri
Pinson hasn't been consistent, so it's probable he remains available in most formats despite a return to the starting lineup. He's averaging 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists over his last five games, twice erupting for 24 or more points. That play could keep him in the lineup even when (if) Mark Smith returns from a back injury that is the immediate factor in Pinson's usage uptick.
Tier 2 Conferences
Isaiah Whaley, F, Connecticut
Whaley looks like he'll be the benefactor of big minutes in light of Akok Akok's likely torn Achilles' tendon. You'll probably need to have scoring covered elsewhere, but Whaley swatted six shots in 34 minutes Saturday against Memphis, and previous had five blocks in just 15 minutes against Cincinnati. Assuming he moves into the starting five, he'll be a nice defensive contributor.
Marcus Sasser, G, SMU
Simply adding Sasser based on his career-high 26 points Saturday is a bit lazy, but it opened eyes nonetheless. It should be no surprise the freshman has been inconsistent, scoring 17, 6, 11, 9 and 26 points over his last five games, but he's taken at least seven shots in each of those contests, averaging 10 attempts. It's that opportunity that makes Sasser an appealing addition. He's started 10-straight contests for the Mustangs, and with a whopping 74.2 percent of his shots coming from 3-point range, he's at worst capable of contributing in points and 3s.
Richard Washington, F, San Jose State
Washington has thrived in two games as a starter, scoring 48 points in two games against Air Force and Fresno State, taking a whopping 38 shots. He's been in double-digits in six straight overall, and qualifies as a big fish, small pond option having previously played at Wake Forest.
Jaden Bediako, C, Santa Clara
Bediako has started six straight and 11 of his team's last 12, but has surged over the last two weeks, averaging 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. He's even more appealing in leagues where centers and freshmen are required in starting lineups, as Bediako can fulfill both mandates. Guglielmo Caruso has played only five minutes total in the team's last 12 games, seemingly due to a leg injury, and doesn't appear to be any threat to Bediako's minutes at this time.