Alabama's Brandon Miller named SEC Player of the Year amid college basketball's most scrutinized season
Brandon Miller's Alabama career will be remembered for reasons beyond basketball, but his on-court accolades now include the SEC Player of the Year award.
The projected NBA lottery pick also took home SEC Freshman of the Year honors for a season in which he has averaged 19.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 40.4% from 3-point range. He is the first player to win both Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year since Anthony Davis did it with Kentucky in 2012.
It would be a dream season for Rivals' No. 17 player in the Class of 2022, had it not been for a fateful night in January.
Miller has been the most scrutinized player in college basketball since it was reported last month he delivered a gun to former Alabama teammate Darius Miles that was allegedly used by another man, Michael Davis, to kill 23-year-old mother Jamea Harris in a late-night shooting Jan. 15.
Miller's attorney has said his client was unaware the gun was in his car until he was on his way to pick up Miles at a Tuscaloosa nightclub. Alabama prosecutors have declined to charge him with a crime as there is reportedly no evidence he could have known the gun would be used in a crime, while Miles and Davis both face capital murder charges.
Brandon Miller's alleged role in shooting will be remembered
Alabama leadership has responded to the situation by letting Miller continue to play on the court with no penalties, and coverage of the team has since been dominated by the shooting. Harris' parents have railed against the decision, calling it "unimaginable."
Miller has been heavily booed in every road arena he's played since his role in the shooting was reported. He didn't help things on his home court either, as a tone-deaf pregame entrance in which a teammate patted him down before entering the court led to a renewed wave of outrage.
This all figures to continue for weeks, if not months, as Alabama is projected to be a top seed in the NCAA tournament and Miller was recently projected to be selected third overall in the 2023 NBA Draft. As one scout told Yahoo Sports' Krysten Peek, Miller will have to face plenty of questions as he enters the league, but the situation so far hasn't stopped teams from wanting him:
"Obviously, this is a tough situation and something teams will be monitoring closely. He'll probably only interview with three, maybe five teams, and will have to answer all their questions, but as he continues to play and no charges are brought at a later time, teams will continue to scout and go to his games since he's one of the top prospects in this draft class," one scout told Yahoo Sports.
Alabama will learn its seed in the NCAA tournament this Sunday, while the NBA draft is scheduled for June 22.