Alabama All-American forward Brandon Miller is heading to the NBA after displaying versatile talent and athleticism in a lone season of college ball that was blemished by revelations he was present at a fatal shooting in January near campus.
ESPN first reported on Miller’s decision, and a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the report to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Miller hadn’t yet made an official declaration for the draft.
The 6-foot-9, 200-pound freshman, who was one of the nation’s top high school recruits, is projected as a potential top 5 draft pick.
Miller displayed his accurate 3-point shooting and athleticism in the most productive season of any freshman in Alabama history. He led the Tide to their first No. 1 ranking in 20 years and first No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed.
Miller averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds while hitting 38% from 3-point range. But he was scoreless in his first March Madness game, and went 3 of 19 and scored just nine points in a Sweet 16 loss to San Diego State.
Miller was described as a cooperating witness after the Jan. 15 shooting and was never charged with a crime.
But he and the Tide were dogged by off-court questions for the final two months of the season. Former Alabama player Darius Miles and another man were charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris, who was killed in early on Jan. 15.
Miller and fellow freshman Jaden Bradley were placed at the scene as well. According to police testimony, Miller brought Miles his gun. Miller’s attorney said the Tide forward was on his way to pick Miles up when Miles texted asking him to bring the weapon, but that Miller never handled the gun and didn’t know any criminal activity was intended.
Miller received threats after the news came out, and was accompanied by a university-provided security guard. “It doesn’t bother me,” Miller said of the threats at the NCAA regional in Birmingham, Alabama, “I send it to the right people and they handle it.”
Alabama finished the season 31-6 and won the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament titles.