Brandon Miller’s frisking act is the talk of college basketball
“It will not happen again, it is inappropriate,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. Miller, according to police information, brought the gun with which a crime was committed.
Brandon Miller has found himself in the eye of the hurricane but the 20-years-old only brought himself more turmoil with his provocative entrance ahead of Alabama’s meeting with Arkansas on the university circuit. As Miller entered court, one of his team mates simulated frisking him as if looking for weapons. The forward raised his arms as he was given a pat down. After the game, which Alabama won 86-83 with Miller hitting 24 points and 6 rebounds, the only subject on everyone’s lips was the player’s gesture which many felt was insensitive. Some tried to play it down, assuring that it has been the team’s habitual presentation routine since the start of the season. But the timing was unfortunate to say the least. On Tuesday, a detective from Tuscaloosa, headquarters of the University of Alabama, testified that Miller brought the gun which his former team mate Darius Miles allegedly used to murder 23-year-old Jamea Jones Harris.
Alabama coach Nate Oats was not too happy after the game, telling reporters, “They explained to me that it’s like when TSA checks you before you get on a plane and now Brandon’s cleared for take-off. We, as the adults in the room, should have been more sensitive to how it could have been interpreted. I don’t watch our introductions, I’m not involved with them, I’m drawing up plays during that time. I dropped the ball. That’s it. I dropped the ball on it. We’ve addressed it. I can assure you that it won’t happen again. Regardless, it’s not appropriate. It’s been addressed and I can assure you it definitely will not happen again for the remainder of this year”.
This murder case has left a mark on the NCAA season, with March Madness around the corner and Alabama, the leaders of the SEC Conference (25 -4). Brandon Miller is tipped to be one of the great hopes to eventually graduate to the NBA. An imposing forward (2.06) with a tremendous scoring instinct, lethal from long distance, he averages 19.7 points and 8 rebounds and is top 5 in almost all mock drafts. In fact, it is normal to find him in pick 3, behind the two untouchables: Victor Wembanyama, very sure number 1, and point guard Scoot Henderson, very sure number 2.
The day after Detective Branden Culpepper made his statement, Miller played and scored 41 points in his team’s close victory (76-78) over South Carolina, where he was heavily booed every time he received the ball. This time, against Arkansas and at home, the public turned to him. According to Culpepper, Miller, who has not been charged with any crime, brought Miles the gun he used to kill Harris in a shooting outside a nightclub on 15 January. Miles, charged with murder, was expelled from the University of Alabama as soon as the facts became known.
Culpepper testified that Miles had blamed firing the gun on the other detainee in the murder, Michael Lynn Davis, who in turn told police that he did not remember anything because he had drunk too much tequila. Judge Paula Whitley confirmed that Miller was not charged and that his attitude had been “cooperative”. Miles allegedly left a gun in Miller’s car, which he took to the nightclub, then texted Miller to ask him to take it away. According to investigations, Davis took the gun from the car on Miles’ instructions. Later, the shooting took place in an entertainment area known as The Strip. Shots hit Miller’s car and killed Harris, who was in the passenger seat of a vehicle that his partner was driving; return shots were fired (according to his version, in self-defence) and the incident was later reported to the Tuscaloosa police.