This article is part of our College Basketball Waiver Wire series.
A very abbreviated holiday week gives us a smaller pool to pick from when it comes to roles changing, plus rotations are in line to tighten up with conference play on the horizon. Let's take a look at some players worth adding to your rosters before that happens.
Power 6 Conferences
Braxton Key, G, Virginia
It's likely Key was dropped as a result of his early December injury, and perhaps he wasn't re-added upon return as he was eased back into action. That all changed with Sunday's performance (15 points, seven rebounds, three steals, two assists in 35 minutes). With conference play set to begin, Key's minutes are going to maintain at worst and increase at best, and the Cavaliers need him to score regularly to remain competitive.
Joey Baker, F, Duke
For a team that ranks eighth nationally in scoring at 82.9 ppg, the Blue Devils' lineup remains in constant flux. After scoring in double-digits in three of four, Baker was inserted into the starting lineup Saturday and flopped, producing only two points in 17 minutes. He's not much more than a shooter, but it's worth a reminder he reclassified to enroll at Duke a year early last season. Baker is still very young and developing, so inconsistencies happen. Even with Saturday's dud, he appears to be trending upward.
DJ Funderburk, F/C, North Carolina State
Funderburk has gone for double-digit points in three straight and four of five, posting 22 points and nine boards Sunday. He flashed potential a year ago and has been brought along slowly following an early-season suspension. He's hands down the Wolfpack's top post player offensively, and that will earn him more minutes as the rotations are trimmed down in league play.
Gabe Kalscheur, G, Minnesota
Maybe he's best served as a streaming option, but Kalscheur is on fire right now. After an 0-of-10 shooting outing against Iowa, he's scored 72 points in his last three games, thanks largely to 13-of-26 3-point shooting. With teams focusing on Daniel Oturu and Marcus Carr, there's no reason to think Kalscheur won't continue seeing open looks.
Sasha Stefanovic, G, Purdue
Stefanovic profiles nearly identically to Kalsheur above; he's a capable provided of points and 3-point shooting. He's moved into the starting lineup for the last six games, twice going for 20+ points by way of 6+ made 3s. He has scored six or less in three starts and topped two assists just twice, so there's certainly volatility nightly, but Stefanovic is a depth option.
Isaac Likekele, G, Oklahoma State
This feels a bit like cheating, as Likekele has already appeared in this column once, and I'd expect his ownership to be pretty high already. But he's back in action after what feels like far more than a four-game absence, and we'd expect him to produce at a reasonably high level as he continues to get his legs back.
Miles McBride, G, West Virginia
McBride appears to be gaining confidence, scoring in double-figures in three straight after doing so just twice in the Mountaineers first nine games. He still not starting, but seeing more minutes at the point than Jordan McCabe, and looks like he'll be trusted in late-game situations for ball handling with conference play looming.
Davonte Gaines, G, Tennessee
Gaines may be better suited as a watch list option than an immediate add, but if you sleep on him, someone else is likely to pounce. The freshman made his first start of the year in the absence of Lamonte Turner, and while he only provided six points and four boards, he saw 26 minutes after playing more than 17 only one time prior.
Evan Battey, C, Colorado
Battey is on a nice three-game heater, averaging 13.7 points and 11.0 rebounds. The uptick in production is directly correlated to more steady minutes with him staying out of foul trouble. There's no guarantee that trend continues in Pac 12 play, but assuming center eligibility, it's worth the minimal risk to hope it's the new norm.
Kimani Lawrence, F, Arizona State
This is mere speculation, as Lawrence is only a viable add if Romello White is forced to miss time with due to a leg injury that limited to eight minutes Saturday. Lawrence had 11 points, three boards and three steals in White's absence, and would have some short-term appeal if White is sidelined.
Tier 2 Conferences
Corey Manigault, F, New Mexico
Manigault moved into the starting lineup last Saturday following an indefinite suspension to Carlton Bragg, and has now turned in two straight 20+ point outings, adding 15 total rebounds and six steals to boot. Playing 35 minutes on average in those games, there's every reason to expect continued positive outings as long as Bragg is out.
Makuach Maluach, G, New Mexico
A rare instance when we can target two from the same team, for a near identical reason. Maluach, though starting every game this season, has taken on a much larger scoring responsibility with J.J. Caldwell suspended, scoring 33 total points in his last two outings after topping 10 points just once in his last six games. He's gone for four or more rebounds six times already this year, including in the last two. The arrow is clearly pointing up here.
Lester Quinones, G, Memphis
Quinones returned from a five-game absence due to a hand injury and had an efficient 13 points and five boards in 18 minutes. He started six games prior to injury, and can be added where he was dropped on the hope he returns to the first five.
Jeriah Horne, F, Tulsa
When Horne gets minutes, he's been productive. In four starts, he's reached double digit points four times, twice topping the 20-point threshold while seeing 30+ minutes. He's been back in the starting lineup for the last two, giving him streaming appeal at worst, with the potential for more over the next two months.
Dan Fotu, F, St. Mary's
Fotu got his first start of the season Saturday thanks to a season-ending injury to Matthias Tass, and responded with a career-high 17 points in 31 minutes. The opportunity here may be greater than the talent, but with the increased run, Fotu is going to produce by default.