It seems as though we’ve been waiting years for Bradley Beal Elite alums Nick Smith Jr. and Brandon Miller to make their college basketball debuts, but the wait is nearly over and the preseason honors for both players show just how much is expected of each.

Over at Arkansas, Nick Smith Jr. has been selected as a preseason All-American (CBS Sports), All-SEC First Teamer (media, Blue Ribbon Magazine), National and SEC Freshman of the Year (CBS Sports) and National Newcomer of the Year (Blue Ribbon Magazine). He was also named to the Jerry West Award Watch list, given annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the top men’s collegiate shooting guard.

Kyle Boone of CBS Sports wrote at length about the opportunity in front of Nick.

“Arkansas runs one of the most guard-friendly systems in the country with Eric Musselman, and Smith, the No. 1 recruit in the 2022 cycle, steps into arguably the biggest opportunity for any freshman in the sport. The team lost 87% of its scoring and 78% of its assists from last season’s team that advanced to the Elite Eight. Smith should shoulder a significant load in both categories as he looks to push the Razorbacks to the top of the SEC.”

At Alabama, Brandon is also putting himself on the radar. He was named to the Watch List for the Julius Erving Award, given annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the top men’s collegiate small forward. Additionally he was selected to the preseason All-SEC Second Team.

Brandon recently put on a show in a Bama scrimmage, posting 33 points on 12-22 shooting and nine rebounds against No. 14 TCU.

Both teams begin their season on Monday, November 7. No. 10 Arkansas will welcome in North Dakota State. No. 20 Alabama plays host to Longwood. The two teams are set to battle head-to-head twice during the regular season, Wednesday, January 11 in Fayetteville and Saturday, February 25 in Tuscaloosa.