Brandon Miller spoke publicly for the first time since reports surfaced on Feb. 21 about his involvement in the shooting that killed Jamea Harris on Jan. 15. The Alabama freshman has played throughout the entire ordeal — well enough to be named SEC Player of the Year — but hadn't talked about how Tuscaloosa police testified he delivered the gun that was used to kill Harris.
But on Wednesday, two days before Alabama will play its first game of the SEC tournament, Miller delivered a brief statement about how he's felt throughout the past few weeks — a time filled with speculation about his on-court availability as well as controversy about his pre-game celebration.
"I never lose sight of the fact that a family has lost one of their loved ones that night," Miller said. "This whole situation is just really heartbreaking. Respectfully, that's all I'm gonna be able to say on that."
Brandon Miller first comments since Feb. 21 pic.twitter.com/w3WqbqK0Az
— Nick Kelly (@_NickKelly) March 8, 2023
Through it all, Miller has dazzled on the court. He averaged 19.6 points and eight rebounds per game during the regular season and is expected to be a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft this summer. The Crimson Tide are also cruising to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
But the underlying issue at hand has dimmed what should have been a bright and exciting season for Alabama. Miller hasn't been charged with a crime, but no one apart from head coach Nate Oats had publicly acknowledged the giant "Big Al"-sized elephant in the room all season.
Even Oats stumbled with his earliest statements — first when he said Miller was at the "wrong spot at the wrong time" (for which he later apologized) and then when he didn't stop the infamous "pat down" pre-game celebration. Oats continued to defend Miller on Wednesday and said the freshman has "taken this whole situation very seriously from Day 1."
"It's a tough situation for all of us," Oats added. "It's just sad, to be honest with you. I never thought Brandon was flippant with any of it, ever."
Miller's role in Harris' death will remain in the spotlight for as long as the capital murder case against former Alabama player Darius Miles and his friend, Michael Davis continues. For now, though, Miller will play basketball for Alabama and likely the NBA next season.