A little over one year ago, Qua Grant and Caleb Jordan were dazzling fans in Waxahachie and Midlothian as senior standouts on the basketball court. They'll once again be conference foes next season, each looking to lead his team to a Lone Star Conference title.
But, for now, the two are deservingly being celebrated as the freshmen of the year in their respective conferences following outstanding first-year campaigns.
Grant began to assert himself at West Texas A&M University around the midway point of the season and was named Monday as the LSC Freshman of the Year, while Jordan has filled up the bucket at St. Mary's University since the opening tip and garnered the same honors in the Heartland Conference.
St. Mary's joins the LSC in the fall and will look to dethrone Grant and the Buffs next season.
Grant, a 2018 Waxahachie graduate, ended the regular season with three consecutive LSC offensive player of the week recognitions — a league-high — and followed by being named the LSC Freshman of the Year on Monday.
He also received first-team All-LSC honors after helping No. 4 WT to the No. 1 seed in the LSC tournament this weekend and a regular-season conference title.
Grant finished the regular season as the sixth most-effective scorer in the LSC (14.3 PPG) and connected on 50.3 percent of his shots from the field, which was third-best. He scored a career-high 29 points in the Buffs regular-season finale last week and broke the 20-point plateau six times throughout the season.
While at Waxahachie, Grant was part of a trio that included Larry Wise (UNT) and Tre Gipson (Midland College) that led the Runnin' Indians to a USA Today Super25 top-15 national ranking, No. 1 ranking in Class 5A, a 2017 5A regional final and back-to-back District 10-5A championships.
Shortly after Jordan signed his national letter of intent with St. Mary's this past spring, he admitted there were times during his sophomore and junior seasons that he thought playing collegiately was nothing more than a dream.
"I always prayed to God about it," Jordan told the Daily Light at his NLI signing. "I kept putting in the work that I have always been putting in, and it has finally paid off."
That same work ethic earned Jordan the title of Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year. He was also named as an All-Heartland Conference honorable mention.
Jordan averaged 14.6 points per game, which was ninth in the conference and led all freshmen, and started all 28 games for the Rattlers this season.
He led the Rattlers in 3-pointers made (43), field goals made (120), free throws made (126), free throws attempted (145) and assists (81), according to an SMU Athletics press release. His 120 made free throws ranks eighth in program history for a single season.
Jordan concluded his stellar regular season by scoring 15 points against Texas A&M International on Saturday during a 58-56 SMU victory that sent the Rattlers to the Heartland Conference Tournament.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith