We know all about Duke’s trifecta of spectacular freshmen and guys like Nassir Little, Bol Bol and Romeo Langford. But every year, under-the-radar freshmen pop. Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith was a prime example last season.

Here are six rookies who could exceed expectations.

PG Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

Considered a hair below the premiere point guard prospects, Dosunmu could put up huge numbers for the Illini.

He has outstanding positional size. At 6-5 with plus length, Dosunmu should be able to disrupt foes on defense and get to his spots on offense. While a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander comparison is optimistic, nobody saw his breakout freshman season coming. And Dosunmu is in a similar mold – he’s the type of point guard whose long strides allow him to move faster than the guys guarding him, even if he doesn’t have obvious top-end speed at first glance. Dosunmu is an outstanding ball handler whose 3-point shot is emerging.

But perhaps the biggest reason for this prediction is that he’s going to have a huge role in the Illinois offense. The Illini went 14-18 last year and ranked 86th  in offensive efficiency; someone has to score. Trent Frazier showed flashes last year, but he barely shot 40 percent from the floor. He’s better suited as a secondary creator.

Dosunmu has the talent to be the driving force of an offense. We saw what kind of success Brad Underwood had with Jawun Evans at Oklahoma State two years ago. If Dosunmu shines, Illinois could be sneaky fun in 2018-19.

G Elijah Weaver, USC

Once upon a time, the term “combo guard” had a negative connotation. It essentially meant you were too small to play shooting guard, but not a good enough of a playmaker to run point.

That’s changed in the age of positionless basketball, and Weaver is a beneficiary. He’s a shot creator who USC can use at the one or the two (Derryck Thornton’s development could be a factor there). Weaver is a smooth lefty with a pretty outside stroke; we’re not saying he’s D’Angelo Russell, but Weaver has probably watched a Russell YouTube clip or two.

    Copyright © Sports Buzz Source by Turner South Syndicate // tss@sportsbuzzsource.com