Alabama’s Brandon Miller accompanied by an armed security guard


An armed security guard accompanied Alabama star Brandon Miller to the site of the Crimson Tide NCAA Tournament’s next game on Wednesday.

“If you saw some of what I saw happen to him, I think you would understand why that is,” Alabama coach Nate Oats told reporters.

Alabama, seeded No. 1 in the men’s tournament, is close to Birmingham for a first-round game on Thursday against 16th seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The security guard, who was wearing red team apparel, was seen in court at Legacy Arena with a gun holstered, along with a badge strapped to his waist.

The 6-foot-9 Miller, who was named both SEC Rookie of the Year and Conference Player of the Year, has been the butt of derision from opposing fans since the revelation last month of his connection to a fatal shootout involving a former teammate. Darius Miles, who was fired from the Alabama program and campus in January, and another man were indicted by a grand jury last week on capital murder charges following the death of a Birmingham woman who was visiting Tuscaloosa .

Police alleged Jamea Harris, 23, was sitting in a car when she was shot by Miles’ friend Michael Davis. Miles is accused of handing over the gun used to shoot Harris to Davis after he retrieved it, police say, from a car he asked Miller to drive to the scene.

A lawyer for Miller said in January that the player “never touched the weapon, was in any way involved in his dealings with Mr. Davis, and was never aware that any illegal activity involving the weapon would occur.”

Lawyers for Miles and Davis said their clients, who have been in a Tuscaloosa jail without bond since the shooting (via, maintain their innocence and act in self-defense.

Sports officials at Oats and Alabama have come under fire, among others, from Harris’ parents for refusing to punish Miller, who led the SEC in scoring and the Tide to its first NCAA Tournament seed. The coach first told reporters that Miller was in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ and couldn’t ‘control everything everyone did outside of training’, before issuing a statement in which he called the comments “unfortunate”.

University officials stressed that Miller and another teammate placed at the scene, freshman guard Jaden Bradley, are considered by authorities to be witnesses and not suspects in the case.

On Wednesday, the New York Times quoted a person familiar with the matter as reporting that a fourth Tide player, rookie Kai Spears, was also at the scene. Spears, a foot guard, was reportedly with Miller inside the car when gunfire rang out.

In a statement (via, Alabama Athletics called the Times story “inaccurate,” adding that based on information available to the school, there were “no current student-athletes present at the scene” other than Miller and Bradley.

At a pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday, Miller said being able to “lean on my teammates” has helped him stay focused on the basketball amid an ongoing off-court story that has in many ways overshadowed Tide’s remarkably successful season.

Asked about the security guard, Miller replied, “I feel like we always travel with security. That’s all I can say on that.

Saying that the situation involving Harris’ death is “just heartbreaking in every way,” Oats told members of the media at the press conference that the security measures implemented on Miller’s behalf were “appropriate.”

“Some of the messages [to Miller] of people who can sit behind fake email addresses – but who knows if they’re real or not – that I’ve seen are something no one would ever want from their son [to receive]“said Oats. “I treat my players like my own sons – I don’t have a son, I have three daughters, but I put myself in his parents’ shoes – and our administration saw what I saw.”

“It’s nothing a college kid should have to go through,” added the 48-year-old coach, who is in his fourth season at Alabama. “If you could see what I saw then you would understand why this is happening right now.”

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