This article is part of our Freshman Haze series.
At some point in every season, I think that I am going to run out of freshmen to profile. New players pop up for a variety of reasons – injuries, new rotations, etc. – so I don't usually have to worry too much. However, there are weeks when I just struggle to come up with a good septet. At times like these, misery loves company, so we will take a look at seven freshmen who have not held up to the hype. Were pundits full of hot air, or could these players be considered post-hype sleepers?
Skal Labissiere, forward, Kentucky Wildcats
Coach John Calipari has had quite a string of big men come through Lexington. The past few have held up, including Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle. Labissiere was expected to follow in their footsteps and the team seemed to be counting on him. Upperclassmen like Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress were available, but both seemed limited. The 6-foot-11 Haitian, who was mentioned in the same breath as Ben Simmons prior to the season, has not looked good. He did have a 26-point game on Nov. 14 against NJIT, but has scored a combined 16 points in his last five games. Labissiere was invisible against Simmons against LSU on Tuesday. He has the apparent physical skills, but it may take Labissiere longer than his predecessors to develop.
Malik Newman, guard, Mississippi State Bulldogs
There seemed to be new hope in Starksville based on coach Ben Howland being able