Bama trio headed to NBA
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WTVY) - Alabama basketball standout Brandon Miller is ready to begin the next chapter of his career on the hardwood, as the 20-year-old was drafted number two overall in the 2023 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.
Miller had a major spotlight focused on him in his lone season with the Crimson Tide, both for his incredible on-court success and for a major controversy that nearly overshadowed a lot of that.
Miller, the son of former Alabama tight end Darrell Miller, joined the Crimson Tide program as a five-star recruit out of Cane Ridge High School in Antioch, Tennessee, where he was a back-to-back Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year during his junior and senior years and was named Tennessee Mr. Basketball during his senior year. He chose Alabama over considered offers from Kansas and Tennessee State, as well as options to play professionally in Australia’s NBL or the G League Ignite.
Immediately entering his freshman season on national player of the year watch lists with the Naismith and Julius Erving Awards, Miller proved those expectations right in a hurry, becoming a highly regarded impact player in college basketball. Some of Miller’s impact performances included a 36 point showing against basketball power Gonzaga on December 17, 2022, and a program freshman-record 41 points en route to a 78-76 overtime win for the Tide against South Carolina on February 22, 2023.
Alongside the multiple SEC Freshman Player of the Week and SEC Player of the Week honors throughout the season, Miller helped the Crimson Tide earn a #1 national ranking for the second and third times in program history, SEC regular season and tournament championships, and Alabama’s first ever #1 seed and #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Miller ended the season averaging 18.8 points per game with 696 total points on the season (school freshman record), 8.2 rebounds per game with 305 total rebounds, as well as a 43% field goal percentage, 38.4% three point percentage and 85.9% free throw percentage. He ranks number two in program history for three-pointers made in a single season, was the leading Division I freshman during the season in scoring, and the only Division I player in the last 30 years to record 696 points, 305 rebounds, and 106 three-pointers in a single season.
Among Miller’s award accolades was being the first player ever to earn SEC Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, and SEC Tournament MVP, and he was also named First-Team All-SEC, Consensus Second-Team All-American, and was awarded the 2023 Wayman Tisdale and NABC Freshman of the Year Awards as the nation’s most outstanding freshman basketball player.
While on-court success put Miller in the spotlight, another spotlight was cast over the Tide standout following a fatal on-campus shooting back on January 15, 2023. The incident, which resulted in the death of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris and the arrest of former teammate Darius Miles in connection with the crime, was given extra national attention when a Tuscaloosa police officer testified that Miller brought the firearm that was used in the shooting.
Miller proclaimed innocence in his part of the incident, with his attorney claiming Miles had left the gun in Miller’s vehicle and Miller only returned the gun following a text from Miles, with the gun taken by Miles’ friend and other suspect Michael Davis and then used to shoot and kill Harris, with two bullets in return fire from Harris’ boyfriend striking Miller’s car.
Miller’s attorney proclaimed Miller had no knowledge of any intent by Miles or Davis to use the weapon, with the Tuscaloosa police officer who revealed Miller’s involvement also revealing that Miller was truthful with his account of the shooting in comparison with investigative findings. Ultimately, Tuscaloosa County chief deputy district attorney Paula Whitley announced on February 22 that Miller would face no charges as a result of the incident.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WTVY) - A second Bama player has come off the board in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft, as 18-year-old power forward Noah Clowney was drafted 21st overall by the Brooklyn Nets.
Clowney was a highly regarded recruit out of high Dorman High School in Roebuck, South Carolina, with the then four-star recruit choosing the Tide over offers from Virginia Tech, Florida, and Indiana.
During his lone season in Tuscaloosa, Clowney recorded a stat line of 9.8 points per game and 352 total points, 7.9 rebounds per game and 285 total rebounds, along with a 48.6% field goal percentage, 28.3% three point percentage, and 64.9% free throw percentage. His season-high in points was 22 against South Dakota State, and he led Alabama in scoring in four games, in rebounds in 14 games, and blocks in eight games.
Along with earning back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Week honors in the first two weeks of December, Clowney was named an SEC All-Freshman selection.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (WTVY) - While he was unable to find a landing spot in the 2023 NBA Draft, former Alabama sophomore center Charles Bediako will have an opportunity at earning an NBA roster spot.
The 21-year-old Canadian signed a one-year, minimum salary Exhibit 10 contract with the San Antonio Spurs, the deal allowing Bediako a chance to participate in the Spurs training camp and depending on results the contract could be converted to a 2-way deal with the team and its G-League affiliate.
It was considered a shock to many in the Crimson Tide program for Bediako to remain in the NBA Draft pool following a two year run in college with the Tide under Nate Oats, but the hope is the bruising 7′1″ rim protector will create some major upside for himself with the opportunity presented to him.
In his two years in Tuscaloosa, Bediako averaged 6.6 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, and 1.7 blocks per game. The center in total during his college career recorded 459 points, 364 rebounds, and 118 blocks, and shot 67.3% from the field and 48.8% from the free throw line.
In addition to being a key piece of Alabama’s defensive structure over the last two seasons, Bediako was an SEC All-Freshman team selection during the 2021-22 season, and an SEC All-Tournament team selection in 2022-23.
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