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Alabama superstar guard Brandon Miller played Wednesday night like he was just freed from jail, even though he was not, nor even suspended.
Amid yells of “Lock him up,” and constant booing from a raucous South Carolina crowd, Miller played the game of his life, scoring a career-high 41 points for a 78-76 win in overtime. No. 2 Alabama (24-4) remained alone in first place in the Southeastern Conference at 14-1 and in line for a No. 1 national seed. An inspired South Carolina dropped to 10-18 and 3-12.
Just hours prior to the game, Alabama continued to decide not to suspend Miller despite the fact that he furnished the gun used in a murder near the Alabama campus at approximately 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15.
“Based on all the information we have received, Brandon Miller is not considered a suspect in this case, only a cooperative witness,” an Alabama athletic department statement said Wednesday afternoon. “Based on all of the facts we have gathered, Brandon remains an active member of our team.”
Key word – active. Miller scored more than half of his team’s points. The rest of the team scored 37.
Brandon Miller Put On A Near-Solo Show For Alabama
Miller, a 6-foot-9, five-star prospect from Cane Ridge High in Antioch, Tennessee, is expected to be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft this summer. That may be part of the reason he has not been charged as an accessory in the murder.
He hit the game-winning points on a driving, left-handed layup through traffic for the 78-76 lead with .8 seconds to go. He also hit a driving, left-handed layup with 4.1 seconds to play in regulation to send the game into overtime tied at 68.
Miller hit 14 of 25 shots on the night, including 6 of 13 from three-point range. He also collected eight rebounds and blocked a shot.
“We went through a little bit of adversity the last few days,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said moments after the game on the Alabama Radio Network. Oats has been criticized roundly around the nation for some of his comments on Tuesday regarding the murder of Jamea Jonae Harris, 23, on Jan 15 in which Miller was involved.
READ: ALABAMA’S BRANDON MILLER SHOULD BE SUSPENDED FOR ROLE IN MURDER, AND SO SHOULD COACH NATE OATS: GUILBEAU
“Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice,” Oats said on Tuesday afternoon of Miller. “College kids are out. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and his friend Michael Lynn Davis remain jailed in Tuscaloosa on capital murder charges from Jan. 15. According to police investigators and Miller’s own legal team, Miller drove to the soon-to-be murder scene on the Alabama strip and gave the gun to Miles. Miles then gave it to Davis. Police believe Davis shot and killed Harris. Miles was then kicked off the Alabama team.
“Mr. Miles texted Brandon and asked him to bring him his firearm,” Miller’s attorney Jim Standridge of Tuscaloosa said in a press release on Wednesday.
During the ESPN2 broadcast of the game, announcers said that Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said in an interview with ESPN that Miller didn’t know Miles’ gun was in the car. This was incorrect, spin according to Miller’s own attorney above.
A Tuscaloosa district judge denied bail for Miles and Davis Tuesday in a preliminary hearing, and the case has been moved to a Grand Jury for expected formal charges.
ALABAMA’S ‘ZERO SUSPENSION POLICY’ COULD HELP RECRUITING
Miller was not arrested for his involvement because investigators could not prove he had knowledge of what Miles and Davis wanted to do with the gun. Oats knew of Miller’s involvement soon after Jan. 15 from interviews with police. But he never suspended Miller, who has been the Tide’s leading scorer throughout the season, averaging 18 points a game. Miller is expected to be among the first four picks of the NBA Draft this summer.
“I used a poor choice of words, making it appear like I wasn’t taking this tragic situation seriously,” Oats said after the game in reference to his “wrong spot at the wrong time” and “College kids are out” comments. “I sincerely apologize for that.”
This was the second consecutive press conference featuring Oats walking back his comments on Tuesday afternoon. He previously tried to correct what he said Tuesday night.
Asked why Alabama decided to keep playing Miller on Wednesday, Oats said, “We make decisions based on available facts, and that’s what we did here.”
Brandon Miller Came To Play
Miller clearly responded.
“You can’t say enough about Brandon,” Oats said. “He’s been through some stuff and showed up ready to play tonight. He’s one of the more focused players. He can play through a lot.”
Miller scored 15 in the first half on 5 of 9 shooting from the field, including 3 of 6 from three-point range, despite the boos and South Carolina leading most of the way and by 35-31 at the break. Arena security escorted an Alabama fan fighting with South Carolina fans out of the building shortly before the first half ended as play was stopped.
“He’s a mentally tough kid,” Oats said. “Very mentally tough. We needed this in a bad way. Brandon put us on his back and carried us. Not surprised he came ready to play.”
One CommentLeave a Reply
There are 2 sets of rules in this country, 1 for us regular folks and another for entertainers and athletes. This kid should be kicked off the team or suspended and that coach should also be suspended.