TUSCALOOSA — Alabama basketball star Brandon Miller spoke Wednesday about being at the scene of a fatal shooting that killed a 23-year-old mother, saying he “will never lose sight of the fact that a family has lost one of their loved ones.”
Miller, in a week in which prizes collected – and was rejected by a big one – spoke to reporters for the first time since his the name was linked to the scene of January 15 in Tuscaloosa where Jamea Harris was murdered.
“This whole situation is really heartbreaking, but respectfully that’s all I’m going to be able to say about it,” said the Associated Press Southeastern Conference player and newcomer of the year.
Former Alabama player Darius Miles is charged with capital murder in the shooting Prosecutors say he turned over the gun used in the shooting to another man, Michael Davis, who shot Harris. Davis is also charged with murder.
Authorities mentioned Miller’s name in court for turning in the gun the night of the shooting at Miles’s request. Freshman point guard Jaden Bradley was also at the scene, authorities said. Neither has been charged with a crime.
Alabama has said its star forward is a cooperating witness, not a suspect. Neither Miller nor Bradley have been left out of a game.
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Miller’s attorney has said the gun was in the back of Miller’s vehicle and the Tide star did not see or touch it.
With Miller and Alabama gearing up for the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament, it’s hard to separate the praise and success from Harris’ death.
Alabama, the likely No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, won the regular-season SEC title and opens its bid to win the league tournament also Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. Miller is a projected Top 5 pick in the NBA draft.
On Wednesday, he was named one of five finalists for the Julius Erving Award given to the best forward in Division I. However, he was not one of the 15 finalists for the Wooden Award given to the best player in the nation.
Miller didn’t shed much light on what the last few weeks have been like for him before he returns to his hometown of Nashville.
asked about playing in the middle of the songs like “Guilty” and “Lock Him Up” from opposing fans, Miller said “we hear the chants.”
“I feel like we really support each other. Just go to places like that and try to get tough wins,” he said.
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Miller was also asked if he received any advice on withdrawing from school and starting to prepare for the NBA draft.
“I mean, I hear a lot of people in my ears… I just lean on these guys next to me and build myself into the person I am now,” he said. Miller said he wants to “be remembered as a champion” at Alabama.
Miller is the first SEC player to win league player and freshman of the year honors since Kentucky’s Anthony Davis in 2012. He is averaging an SEC-best 19.6 points per game.
His teammate Jahvon Quinerly said the team has stuck together through adversity “and we made sure (Miller) was good.”
Alabama coach Nate Oats. He said Miller “has taken this whole situation very seriously from day one.” He ordered Miller to stop your pregame ritual where a teammate patted him during introductions.
“It’s a difficult situation for all of us, and it’s sad, to be honest with you,” Oats said. “But I never thought Brandon was flippant about any of that, ever. So as far as off the court, there aren’t necessarily big changes, but I don’t think there’s a need for big changes.
“It’s a great guy that we’re all going through a tough time together and we’re trying to support each other through this deal.”