In a college basketball season full of parity, Alabama has stood near the top of the college basketball national championship odds much of the way. However, there has been intense criticism surrounding the program — and head coach Nate Oats — after text messages showed former Bama player Darius Miles asked five-star freshman Brandon Miller to bring his gun to Miles the night Jamea Jonae Harris was murdered. Miles has since been charged with that murder.
What’s The Latest On Brandon Miller?
In the early morning on Jan. 15, Michael Davis and ex-Crimson Tide forward Darius Miles reportedly participated in a deadly shooting on the Strip in Tuscaloosa, Ala. They were both charged with capital murder for the death of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris. Police noted that Davis pulled the trigger.
On Tuesday, Tuscaloosa Police investigator Branden Culpepper testified under oath that Miller brought the gun that was operated in the shooting death of Harris. However, the gun belonged to 21-year-old Darius Miles, Miller’s former teammate, according to the testimony. Culpepper said Miles had texted Miller saying, “I need my joint.” Culpepper said joint was slang for a gun.
But one legal expert also stated that the determination towards charging Miller comes down to whether Miller knew the gun would be used in a murder.
“Based on what we know, the declination by the Tuscaloosa DA is correct and Miller should not be charged,’’ Jay Town told AL.com, a former U.S. Attorney and prosecutor in Madison County, Alabama. “It doesn’t appear evidence exists that Miller knew that transferring the firearm was for an unlawful purpose, hindsight notwithstanding.”
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What Is Happening Now With Alabama Basketball?
Regardless of district attorney’s decision, there’s debate as to how the program should handle Miller’s status on the team moving forward. On Wednesday night, the 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward was in uniform against South Carolina.
Miller tallied a career-high 41 points on 25 shots, making six of his 13 attempts from the perimeter. A pair of those buckets tied the game in the final seconds of regulation, along with the eventual game-winner in overtime. He’s projected to be a top-five pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
“He’s one of the most mentally-tough kids I’ve ever coached,” Oats said postgame about Miller. “Not surprised. I mean, 41 points, you don’t want to say you expect that, but not surprised he came ready to play and played well tonight.”
Oats also apologized for his previous comments, describing them as a “poor choice of words,” after saying Miller was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and he was “fully comfortable with everything that happened there.”
“I’m not here to make excuses, but I want to make it clear I didn’t have the details from the hearing that morning since I was coming straight from practice … I used a poor choice of words, making it appear I wasn’t taking this tragic situation seriously, which we have throughout the course of it. I sincerely apologize for that … “We (made the decision to let Miller play) based on available facts.”Oats after Wednesday night’s 78-76 win at South Carolina
As for Wednesday night’s game, the Tide notched their second-worst game efficiency rating all season — behind the rating from the Oklahoma loss on Jan. 28 — per Haslametrics.
Alabama has the second-shortest national title odds (), with the Houston Cougars () still atop the board.
What is not quantifiable by numbers or metrics is how this investigation will develop over the course of the next month, perhaps while Alabama is playing in the NCAA tournament. Most importantly, a family is mourning the senseless loss of a loved one and no amount of basketball will fill that void.
- What do you think about what’s going on with Alabama basketball. Should Brandon Miller be playing? Discuss it with more than 4,300 college basketball fans in TheLines.com CBB Discord channel.