Alabama freshman Brandon Miller will be in the lineup for the Crimson Tide on Saturday, as the program maintains it is doing the “right thing” by not punishing the likely lottery pick for his connection to the Darius Miles murder case.
Head coach Nate Oats said Friday the university has taken the matter seriously since investigators shared details of Miller’s suspected involvement, which came to light earlier this week.
“We’ve been taking it very seriously from Day 1. The first minute that I got the information, I called (athletic director) Greg (Byrne) and we talked about it and the severity of it,” Oats said. “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.”
Investigator Branden Culpepper shared new details of the murder probe on Tuesday, including a revelation that Miller drove the vehicle containing the gun used in the shooting to his then-teammate Miles, who had asked Miller to bring him the weapon. Miles and Michael Lynn Davis are charged with capital murder in the death of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris, who was fatally shot on Jan. 15 near the university campus.
Miles admitted to providing the gun used in the shooting, according to investigators, but told authorities Davis fired the weapon. Miller fled the scene when gunfire started, per police, and his windshield was hit by bullets as he drove away.
Earlier this week, Oats said Miller was in the “wrong place are the wrong time.”
Tuscaloosa Chief Deputy District Attorney Paula Whitley said on Wednesday that Miller hasn’t been charged with a crime and gave no indication he would face charges.
After discussions involving Byrne and others in the Alabama administration, Miller played in Wednesday’s game against South Carolina and scored a career-high 41 points in the 78-76 overtime victory. He drove for the winning basket with 0.9 seconds on a night in which he was constantly booed by South Carolina fans.
Oats said the incident has driven multiple conversations with his team since Miles was arrested. In recent days, Miller’s involvement and the university decision not to suspend him from the lineup made international headlines.
“Life’s fluid. Different circumstances bring up different areas to talk about. There’s different areas you need to educate your players on,” Oats said. “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 … 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.”
Miller is in the midst of a stellar season. He leads the SEC with a 19.5 scoring average and became just the third freshman in school history to score at least 500 points in a season. He also is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game and has made a team-high 88 3-pointers, which is also best in the SEC.
Alabama plays host to Arkansas on Saturday.
–Field Level Media