NBA prospect Brandon Miller has won this year’s SEC Player of the Year Award just one year into his college basketball career with Alabama, despite his recent connection to a murder case.
The 20-year-old came out on top on Monday at this year’s postseason awards, which are decided by 14 head coaches. The small forward led the SEC’s scoring charts this season with 19.6 points per game.
He also led Alabama to a first-place finish and already won the conference’s Freshman of the Year award just weeks after being named in the murder trial of ex-teammate Darius Miles.
In February, Tuscaloosa police testified that Miller was the person who brought Miles the gun used to kill 23-year-old Jamae Harris, though Miles’ boyfriend, Michael Davis, is believed to be the alleged shooter.
The mother of a child was fatally injured on January 15.
Alabama small forward Brandon Miller, 19, won the SEC’s Player of the Year award on Monday
Miller reportedly gave the gun used to kill Jamae Harris to Darius Miles (above)
Miller, who is from Tennessee, then played against South Carolina and was taunted with chants of “lock him up” during the game. It didn’t stop him – he scored a career-high 41 points and his team won 78-76.
A game later against Arkansas, Miller was jokingly plopped down by a teammate before speaking.
Both Miles and Davis are charged with murder, though Miller has been cleared of any wrongdoing by authorities and his school.
The victim’s parents are also said to be angry with NCAA officials, and more specifically Alabama, for allowing Miller to continue playing despite his ties to allegations.
He took a short break and it didn’t stop. It’s like, OK, slap the wrist and go play,” Harris’ mom, DeCarla Cotton, told me USA today.
“They’re worried about his career, but what about this 5-year-old boy (Harris’ son, Kaine). He is the real victim in all of this. He will no longer have a mother to influence his youth and who he will be.’
Miller is the first player to win both Player and Rookie of the Year Awards since 2012, the year the Lakers’ Anthony Davis received the honor.
Davis only played one year for Kentucky (2011-2012).
Miller is the first player to win Player & Rookie of the Year since Anthony Davis in 2012
Harris, a mother of a five-year-old son, was visiting her cousin and friend in Tuscaloosa when she was shot dead last month.
“She has a 5-year-old son who is still waiting for his mother to come home,” DeCarla Heard, Harris’ mother, told reporters. “I want justice for my grandson.”
Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama police were dispatched to the Walk of Champions at Bryant Denny Stadium, the school’s soccer field, at 1:45 a.m. on January 15 when a shooting was reported.
There, police met Harris’ friend, Cedric Johnson, who said he drove away from the scene of the shooting after their vehicle was hit by gunfire. Johnson told police he fired in self-defense and may have hit one of the suspects, believed to be Davis.
Investigators later determined that the shooting occurred in the 400 block of Grace Street off University Boulevard, near many bars and restaurants.
Harris’ mother, Heard, previously told AL.com that the suspects tried to talk to her daughter, who told them she had a boyfriend and was not interested in their advances.
Court documents obtained by AL.com state that Davis fired the fatal shots, while Miles admitted to giving Davis the gun.
Miles was originally dropped off at the scene by Miller, who did not stay because the queue at a local club, Twelve25, was too long, according to testimony at Tuesday’s hearing.
Jamea Harris, 23, from the Birmingham area was shot dead on January 15
Miles was originally dropped off at the scene by Miller, who didn’t stay because the queue at a local club, Twelve25, was too long, according to testimony at Tuesday’s hearing
The first encounter occurred after Harris, Johnson and Harris’s cousin, Asia Humphrey, left the club for a bite to eat at a nearby grill, where they ran into Davis, police said.
Davis tried to talk to Harris, but was told by Johnson that she wasn’t interested in him, Culpepper said, adding that it got “a little elevated.”
Miles then allegedly texted Miller saying, “I need my joint,” which police say is slang for a gun.
After Miller returned, according to police, Miles and Davis walked to his car before approaching the victims.
Davis then said, “I told you I was going to get you,” according to Tuesday’s testimony, and fired at least eight shots at the victims’ jeep.
Harris was punched in the face.
Miller’s car was hit with two bullets during the ensuing gunfire.
Michael Lynn Davis allegedly retrieved the gun from Miller’s vehicle
The victims fled in the Jeep to the Walk of Champions, where they met police. Harris was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
Police say they received a 911 call from Miles, who said his friend, Davis, had been shot.
Miles told police he didn’t know how or where it happened.
In subsequent police interviews, Miles said he and his girlfriend picked up Davis after the shooting.
Police later told Miles that the incident was captured on a nearby surveillance camera, prompting Miles to admit he was at the scene of the shooting.
Miles admitted to contacting Miller to retrieve his gun, but said Davis was the one who got it from Miller’s vehicle, police said.
Davis claimed to be drunk and struggled to remember how the shooting happened.
Defense attorneys have suggested that Miles and Davis could have feared for their lives after initially seeing a gun in the victims’ vehicle.