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Wednesday night’s game wasn’t just a display of top NBA prospect Brandon Miller’s play. It was also a bitter reminder for the family of slain 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris.
Jamea’s parents spoke out about Alabama’s decision to let Miller play against South Carolina, just a day after his potential connection to the murder was unveiled.
Jamea’s Parents Believe Brandon Miller Should Be Held Responsible
Speaking with USA Today after the 78-76 Alabama overtime win, Harris’ mother, DeCarla Cotton, bashed the men’s basketball program for not disciplining Miller and letting him carry on, as usual, Wednesday night.
“It’s just unimaginable, and it’s like his life is just going on,” Cotton said on Thursday. “He took a brief pause and it didn’t stop. It’s like, OK, slap on the wrist and go play ball.”
Cotton added, “They’re worried about his career, but what about this 5-year-old boy (Harris’ son, Kaine)? He’s the true victim in all this. He won’t have a mother anymore to influence his growing up and who he’s going to be.”
Some argued that Miller’s exceptional performance on Wednesday swept over the ongoing investigation looking into the star freshman’s connection to Jamea’s murder scene.
Parents Respond To School’s Lack of Punishment
Alabama MBB coach Nate Oats’ initial statement on absolving Miller of any blame received backlash for his lack of regard toward the murder case. The coach essentially stated “wrong place, wrong time” in Miller’s defense.
Jamea’s stepfather, Delvin Heard, criticized Oats on his public response regarding the incident and an apology he later issued.
“The retraction meant nothing to us because over this five-week period, he has made a habit of making reckless statements,” Heard said. “When I say reckless, I mean statements not considering the victim in this whole thing, which is Jamea Harris.”
Former teammate Darius Miles, 21, and partner Michael Lynn Davis, 20, were charged with capital murder. Harris was shot over an altercation with Miles on The Strip near Alabama’s campus.
Miller was first connected to the murder on Tuesday when a Tuscaloosa detective revealed that Miller had received a text from Miles requesting a handgun that was left in the back of the freshman’s vehicle.
Miller Supplied the Weapon
“When somebody says bring a gun to them, what do you think they’re going to do with it?” Cotton said about Miller’s involvement. “And if there was no gun, she would not be dead.”
The defense offered that Miller never touched the weapon or was aware of the plot to murder Jamea.
Based on the statement from Miller’s attorney, Alabama decided to keep Miller (arguably the nation’s best college basketball player) active on the roster moving forward.
Alabama also noted that they have been aware of Miller’s potential involvement in the Feb. 15 shooting.
Aside from some “low-energy” with the team, it was business as usual on Wednesday for Miller and the Crimson Tide. Alabama defeated South Carolina in overtime, and Miller shined to a career-high 41 points.
A game-tying layup at the end of regulation and a game-winning bucket in OT led the post-game highlights more than the narrative of Jamea Jonae’s murder.
Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela
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