Alabama star Brandon Miller scores game-winner after link to fatal shooting case

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Brandon Miller hit a game-winning shot to beat South Carolina just one day after police testified that the freshman forward brought a gun to a scene that a former teammate used to kill a woman last month.

Miller scored a career-high 41 points in the 78-76 win Wednesday at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C. He hit a layup off the backboard with one second remaining in overtime for the game-winning points.


Alabama announced about 3 1/2 hours before the game that Miller would play.

Tuscaloosa police detective Branden Culpepper testified Tuesday at a preliminary hearing that Miller delivered a gun to Darius Miles in connection with the Jan. 15 shooting. Police said the gun was used later by Michael Davis to kill 23-year-old Jamea Harris.

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Miles -- who was dismissed from Alabama -- and Davis each face capital murder charges. Miller has not been charged with a crime. The capital murder case will be sent to a grand jury.


Culpepper said Miles arrived at the scene and told Davis about the weapon. He also said Miles sent a text message to Miller saying he needed his "joint" -- slang for a gun. Culpepper testified that Miles was seen walking to get something from Miller's car.

Miller's attorney, Jim Standridge, said Wednesday in a news release that his client gave Miles a ride to a nightclub in the hours before the shooting. Standridge also said Miles brought the gun and left it in the back seat of Miller's vehicle. He said Miller then left the area and "never saw the handgun."

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Standridge said Miles later asked Miller to bring him the gun. He also said Miller arrived on the scene and then left when gunfire erupted.

Alabama beat LSU 106-66 on Jan. 14 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The incident occurred in the early hours of Jan. 15. Miller played in all 11 Crimson Tide games since the shooting.


Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats initially told reporters Tuesday that Miller was in the "wrong spot at the wrong time." Oats released a statement Wednesday to "clarify" his previous comments. He called the remarks "unfortunate" and said his "statements came across poorly."

He told reporters Wednesday that the Crimson Tide made the decision to let Miller play based on "available facts." He also said he didn't have the "details" of the hearing when he made initial comments on the matter.

Miller made 14 of 25 shots, including six 3-pointers, in Wednesday's overtime win over the Gamecocks. He also totaled eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Miller, a Top 10 high school recruit last year, is projected as a Top 5 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

"He is one of the most mentally tough kids I've ever coached," Oats said of Miller. "Forty-one points, you don't want to say you expect that. But I'm not surprised he came ready to play and played well [Wednesday]."

Oats said it was "hard to say" if the shooting and Miller's involvement was a distraction for the team. The Crimson Tide, ranked No. 2 in the coaches poll, will host Arkansas at 2 p.m. EST Saturday in Tuscaloosa. They will face Auburn and Texas A&M next week in their final two regular-season games.


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