Alabama Basketball Coach Nate Oats Defends Playing Brandon Miller: ‘We’ve Done The Right Thing’

Videos by OutKick

Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats has absolutely no problem with Brandon Miller continuing to play.

The star Alabama forward and likely NBA lottery pick drove the vehicle carrying the gun allegedly used by former teammate Darius Miles and Michael Lynn Davis to murder single mother Jamea Jonae Harris back in January. Davis and Miles currently face capital murder charges.

Miller, who police have not charged with anything, has continued to play, and the decision from the athletic program has brought intense scrutiny. However, Oats doesn’t see it as a problem.

Nate Oats thinks he’s handling Brandon Miller correctly.

“We’ve been taking it very seriously from Day 1. The first minute that I got the information, I called [Alabama athletic director] Greg [Byrne] and we talked about it and the severity of it. Greg, I thought, did a great job addressing those comments on Wednesday, and I really don’t have much to add to it. We feel like we’ve done the right thing in this case. So I’m going to leave it at that with Greg’s comments,” Oats explained in a Friday press conference, according to ESPN.

Not only does Oats think playing Miller is appropriate, but also he believes the entire situation is an opportunity to educate his players.

Nate Oats defends playing Brandon Miller. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

“Life’s fluid. Different circumstances bring up different areas to talk about. There’s different areas you need to educate your players on. The world changes. As we’ve come across different situations, it’s hard to predict everything that everybody is going to get into. We’ve taken the opportunities as a basketball program and as an athletic department and as a university as a whole to address situations that have come up and taking that opportunity to educate our guys on different things like this. So the answer is yes, we’re using this as an opportunity to educate our players on stuff that hopefully will help them for the rest of their lives,” Oats further explained when asked how the situation has changed the program.

This isn’t the first time Oats has defended playing Brandon Miller.

Oats, who doesn’t seem to mind discussing the murder and Miller’s status, previously spoke about keeping the forward active.

Earlier in the week he stunned some people when he told the press, “We knew about that. Can’t control everything everybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out. Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble, nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Just in the wrong spot at the wrong time.”

Specifically, the line about not controlling people outside of practice was particularly jarring. Oats later walked back his comments and released a new statement.

What are the facts?

While there is a lot of information out there, it’s important we stick to what we know. Here are the facts that have been presented by the authorities.

Miles texted Miller saying he needed his gun after partying in Tuscaloosa. The star basketball player eventually arrived, the weapon was retrieved and Harris was murdered shortly after. Those are the facts that aren’t in dispute.

Miller drove the vehicle carrying Miles’ weapon to the scene, the weapon was retrieved and Harris was killed.

Nate Oats faces scrutiny for playing Brandon Miller. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There are unanswered questions.

From there, there are claims that so far have not been proven and there are disputing versions of events. Miller’s attorney in a statement claims the Alabama forward “never touched the gun, was not involved in its exchange to Mr. Davis in any way, and never knew that illegal activity involving the gun would occur.”

However, his attorney never claims Miller was unaware of the gun being in the car. His attorney also claims “Brandon was already on the way to pick up Mr. Miles” when his former teammate sent the text saying he needed the weapon. Some have speculated perhaps he never saw the text, but Miller’s attorney never claims he was unaware of the request.

Brandon Miller’s attorney also claims the forward’s vehicle was not used to block in the victims. Police initially claimed Miller’s car, which was hit by gunfire, was possibly in a blocking position on the street, according to reports from The Associated Press and

What are the laws about guns in vehicles in Alabama?

It’s also important to note Alabama’s laws on the books about weapons in vehicles recently changed. Previously, a person needed a permit to carry a loaded weapon unlocked in their vehicle. The state of Alabama’s official website, which hasn’t been updated to reflect the law changes, states the following:

“Except as otherwise prohibited by law, a person legally permitted to possess a pistol, but who
does not possess a valid concealed weapon permit, may possess an unloaded pistol in his or her
motor vehicle if the pistol is locked in a compartment or container
that is in or affixed securely to
the vehicle and out of reach of the driver and any passenger in the vehicle.”

Alabama has laws regulating guns being stored and carried in vehicles. (Credit: Alabama government,

However, that law changed at the start of 2023. Now, you can keep a loaded gun in your car under permitless carry at the age of 18, according to It’s not known if Miller has a concealed carry permit, which you can still get in the state, but his lawyer did say he has “never even handled” a gun. At the age of 20, he is likely fine.

Alabama plays Arkansas today and Brandon Miller will absolutely be in the lineup. Make sure to keep checking back to OutKick for the latest updates as we have them.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect Alabama’s new permitless carry law.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

One Comment

Leave a Reply
  1. THE QUESTION that every college basketball “fan” in America should be asking his/her/its self is: …. “Suppose this situation was happening with My Team?” ….. “Would I be as universally defensive about it as Alabama fans are?”

    Brandon Miller was/is a 5-Star player … eagerly recruited by Every College BB Power …. Yes. that means UNC, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas, etc etc etc …. so YES, it could happen with Your Team. If you think it could not because Your Team are all “choir boys” … then You Are A Fool!

Leave a Reply