Thoughts on Brandon Miller, Off and On the Court

February 23rd, 2023

By Alan Lu

It’s been a wild week in college basketball.  With everything that’s happened recently, Brandon Miller could end up being one of the most talented, yet polarizing NBA draft prospects in recent history.

It was reported recently that Alabama’s 6-9 sensational freshman forward, Brandon Miller provided the gun to his then teammate, Darius Miles that led to the tragic murder of Jamea Harris, and Miles and another man were arrested on capital murder charges.  Even more, it was reported that Miller and Bradley’s cars blocked the victim’s car from escaping, which may make them accessory to murder.  So far, neither Miller nor Bradley have been charged, but if this information is true, this could pose a significant threat to Miller’s draft stock, and that neither Miller nor Bradley should have played in yesterday’s game against South Carolina.

That said, Brandon Miller is a tremendous prospect, at least in terms of what he can do on the basketball court.  He can really shoot and score the basketball, and he is a shot creator that can will his team to win.  Miller scored 41 points, had 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and made 6 three-pointers to lead his team to a 78-76 overtime win over South Carolina on the road, and he scored more half of his team’s points to do so.  Miller practically carried his team single-handedly to get the win, and he put forth a terrific, all-around, on-court performance to get his team the victory.  South Carolina played valiantly, and G.G. Jackson, Meechie Johnson, and Jacobi Wright combined to score 55 points in this game.

Alabama’s 6-9 standout, star freshman forward Brandon Miller scored 41 points to lead his team to an overtime win over South Carolina, but his alleged involvement in Jamea Harris’ death could cause his draft stock to tumble.
Sean Rayford/Associated Press)

Alabama’s 6-9 freshman forward, Brandon Miller put forth a performance for the ages, and he played terrifically in his team’s OT win over South Carolina.  He scored 41 points, he was dominant down the stretch, and he made timely, clutch plays to lead his team to get the victory on the road.  He is a terrific shooter that excels at scoring quickly on off-ball motion plays, and he has such a quick release combined with having great length and size that he can take advantage of any sliver of space and time to knock down jumpers from long range.  He was unstoppable, especially from long distance.  He is a terrific shooter off the catch, and he also would run quickly to knock down quick spot-up threes.  He also showed a knack for dribbling to his left to score on pull-up threes from beyond the arc. 

Miller also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  It was especially impressive considering that he was able to make some high-impact plays all while playing under intense pressure and scrutiny.  He ran the floor and caught a lob pass to score on a high-flying dunk.  He was able to steal a ball away from an opposing ball handler and drove up court to score on a fast break dunk.  He did a great job of scoring on fast breaks.  He did miss a rushed put back once, but Miller generally thrived at finishing plays around the basket.

He also did a great job of scoring off the dribble.  Miller has a solid first step along with a solid set of dribble moves, and he will take long strides that will allow him to regularly score on strong, patient drives to the rim.  He had a couple of misses durassing the middle of this game, but he really was able to be his team’s go-to scorer, especially late in this game, and he was able to score on a couple of impressive drives to the hoop.

Miller also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  He passes and handles the ball well, and he generally passed the ball well on fast breaks.  He was able to throw an accurate long pass ahead to set up a score for a teammate in transition, and he showed solid court vision.  On one play though, he threw an inaccurate pass off the dribble that sailed out of bounds, but Miller showed that he can find the open man and can make swift, accurate passes to get the ball to his teammates.

He also showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball.  Miller was able to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he made a concerted effort to get defensive boards in this game. Also, Miller played solid defense in this game.  He is a rangy defender that was able to get numerous steals and blocks for his team, and he was able to make some high-impact plays on the defensive end.  Miller hustled back to make a terrific, chase down block to stop a fast break, and swatted the shot to himself that time.  He also showed a knack for using his length, quickness, and closing speed to jump passes to get steals, and he also poked a ball away from an opposing ball handler to get a steal another time.  Plus, he also would consistently contest threes to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would play too aggressively, as he would wind up out of position or try to make a play and miss, which would lead him to commit fouls.  He also would sometimes get beat off the dribble, and other times he would be a bit late on his rotations.

In general, Brandon Miller could prove to be the most divisive NBA draft prospect in recent memory.  In terms of his talent, he is a tremendous prospect that has terrific shooting and scoring skills combined with very good size, athleticism, and defensive skills that could enable him to be a future NBA superstar.  On the other hand, it was reported that he provided the gun to his then teammate that led to the tragic murder of Jamea Harris.  That  Miller could also potentially have been an accessory to murder is not good news at all.  It’s a shame that all these things are colliding all at once, with that news story breaking, and that he scored 41 points in his team’s overtime road win over South Carolina, that it may be tough for NBA decision makers to try to make sense of all of this.  In terms of talent alone, Miller would be a consensus top 3 pick, and he may be the second-best overall prospect for the 2023 draft behind Wembanyama, and Scoot Henderson is a terrific prospect himself.  But character matters, and in light of recent events, that may be why Brandon Miller’s draft stock could and maybe should, slide significantly.  Miller probably shouldn’t have played in this game against South Carolina.  But he did, and he was dominant, and he played terrifically to get his team an overtime win on the road.

South Carolina’s 6-9 freshman forward, G.G. Jackson had some really good moments in his team’s heartbreaking overtime loss to Alabama.  It has been a tough season for Jackson and his team.  They have lost a lot of games this season, and they are also playing in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball.  Jackson showed some very good shot making ability, showed a better feel for his jump shot, and was able to make some solid defensive plays, but he tended to take too many tough shots that ended up hurting his shooting percentages, and he ended up struggling to make plays consistently late in this game.

Jackson showed a solid ability to knock down jumpers, especially from the mid-range.  He handles the ball well, especially for a player his size, and he showed good footwork and shooting touch that enabled him to consistently score on pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  He also shot the ball fairly well from deep, and he was able to pull up to knock down a three, and he also made an open corner three another time.  Sometimes he would take tough, contested shots from way out that would result in misses, but generally Jackson did a good job of knocking down shots, especially from the outside.

He also ran the floor and drove to the hoop to score on a magnetic dunk in transition.  On the downside, Jackson seemed to struggle to score in one-on-one situations consistently.  He had trouble getting all the way to the hoop consistently, and he would tend to miss on wild drives in traffic, and he also had a couple of his shots blocked by Bediako.  Jackson also tended to miss shots in the post, and he didn’t always show a great shooting touch when operating down low.  While Jackson appeared to be at his best taking and making rather difficult shots from the mid-range, he had some trouble finishing plays in traffic in one-on-one situations, and sometimes he would try to overtly force the issue too much on offense.

At times, Jackson shows solid potential as a playmaker, and he can pass and handle the basketball.  On the downside, he still has been prone to committing turnovers quite frequently, which ended up hurting his team a bit late in this game.  On one good play, Jackson drove to the hoop and threw a bounce pass to a roll man to notch an assist.  On the downside, he would throw rushed passes that would go astray, and he threw one hard pass to a teammate down low that wasn’t quite ready to handle it.  He also would tend to over-dribble and would get sloppy with his ball handling or footwork, which led to a couple of ball-handling turnovers.

Jackson didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to get several defensive boards to help chip in on the glass.  He also played adequate defense in this game.  When Jackson is dialed in, he can be really good defensively, and he has very good length, athleticism, and instincts that can enable him to make a number of plays on that end.  He was able to make a terrific chase down block to prevent an opponent from getting an easy shot up around the basket.  Jackson also blocked a shot hard to a teammate to prevent an opponent from scoring on a back door cut.  He also would contest threes to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would have lapses defensively, as he didn’t always stay up on shooters, and would occasionally give up too much space and allow them to score from long range.  Other times, he wouldn’t always stay in front of his man, and he would sometimes get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In summary, G.G. Jackson is an intriguing prospect that may have a great deal of upside due to his tremendous athleticism, as well as scoring, defense, and shot-creation potential.  On the other hand, he’s also been incredibly inefficient as a shooter and scorer this season, and a lot of that stems from having to be the go-to scorer on a below average SEC basketball team.  Jackson will need a lot of coaching and may need a system that can correct some of the bad habits he’s picked up, as he will need to improve his shot selection and he will need to be able to trust his teammates more.  Still, he is a high-flyer that could develop into a very good NBA player over time, especially if he works hard on his overall game, and Jackson could be an intriguing pick for an NBA team, especially if he’s available for them to select in the late first round range of the 2023 draft.

Alabama’s 7-0 sophomore center, Charles Bediako quietly played very well in his team’s win over South Carolina.  He did a great job of finishing plays around the basket, and he is an athletic, high-motor big man that thrived as a finisher on offense.  He also managed to drive to the hoop to get fouled in order to get to the free throw line. 

He also defended well in this game.  Bediako has great size and length, as well as solid athleticism and. Instincts that enabled him to play terrific interior defense down the stretch.  He did an excellent job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint, and he also did a good job of defending in the post.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to guard opponents out on the perimeter, as he would give up open jumpers or over-rotate on occasion.

Overall, Charles Bediako had a very good showing in his team’s win over South Carolina.  He’s still developing his offensive game, but he is a tall, athletic center that could project well into a rim protector role in the NBA, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2023 draft.

South Carolina’s Meechie Johnson had a solid showing in his team’s tough overtime loss to Alabama.  He is a speedy guard that excelled as a shooter and scorer, and he also was able to make some very solid passes off the dribble to notch assists.

Johnson shot the ball very well, especially from long range.  He is a sharpshooter that can get any shot he wants, and he was able to make dribble threes from way out, including one from around half court to close out the first half.  He also showed a knack for scoring on speedy drives to the hoop, and he showed good speed, balance, and body control to do so.  Johnson did take some tough threes from way out that resulted in misses, but he also took tough threes that went in, and he generally thrived as a shooter and scorer in this game.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills, and he was able to make some very solid passes off the dribble to notch assists.  Johnson also rebounded the ball well.  He also played adequate defense.  He was able to intercept a dropped pass to get a steal.  However, he can sometimes be mistake prone defensively due to over-aggressiveness.  On one play in the second half, he ended up fouling an opponent on a three-point shot, which gave the other team three free throws that time.

Overall, Meechie Johnson played well in this game, and he is a talented shot maker that make shots from anywhere on the court.  On the other hand, he’s been too streaky with his jump shot at times, and he is prone to taking difficult shots that can hurt his shooting percentages.  Still, he has proven himself to be one of the best players of South Carolina’s team, and he is an agile, skilled playmaker that could be a prospect to watch sometime in the near future.

South Carolina’s Jacobi Wright played very well in his team’s tough loss to Alabama.  He is a mobile, skilled combo guard that showed a knack for pulling up to score on mid-range jumpers, and he especially thrived at going to his left to do so.  Wright did a great job of making mid-range jumpers, and he. Also showed that he can take on the contact to draw fouls to get to the free throw line.  He didn’t seem to be nearly as impactful in the non-shooting or scoring related elements of the game, but Wright did a terrific job of scoring the basketball, especially from the mid-range.  Wright played very well in this game, and he could be a prospect to watch sometime down the road.

Alabama’s 6-10 freshman forward, Noah Clowney didn’t really stand out in this game, but he was able to make some plays at times, especially on fast breaks.  He would run the floor hard, and he has good hands that allows him to catch long passes.  His ability to run the floor would enable him to score and get fouled to get to the free throw line.  Clowney didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside however, and he also didn’t take many shots.  He almost scored on what would’ve been a high-flying put back dunk off the dribble, but he drew a non-shooting foul off of an offensive rebound beforehand.

He was also fairly turnover prone.  Clowney was called for traveling once, and he also threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds.  He also dropped a quick entry pass that led to another team turnover.  Clowney did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Sometimes though, he would play too aggressively, which would lead him to commit touch fouls when either going for rebounds or trying to get stops on the defensive end.

Overall, Clowney didn’t have a great game, but he didn’t have an especially bad game, either.  He’s a tall, athletic combo forward that can play multiple frontcourt positions, and his versatility makes him an intriguing prospect for the 2023 draft.  However, he will really need to improve his jump shot, which has tapered off significantly recently, and he will need to be a more disciplined defender in games.  Clowney is a talented prospect that could be worth it for NBA teams to consider in the late first to the second round range of the 2023 draft.

The Brandon Miller Saga, Part II:

The 2023 NBA draft class could be shaping up to be one of the best draft classes in years, maybe in a long while.  Metropolitans 92’s 7-4 center, Victor Wembanyama is a tremendously gifted player whose all-around skills are unparalleled.  He moves and handles the ball like a point guard, has uncanny range on his jump shot, and he is a terrific defender that can block many shots and also can seamlessly defend out on the perimeter.  Scoot Henderson has been terrific for the G-League Ignite, and he is also playing very well in pro ball in the G-League, and he is a very athletic, playmaking point guard whose ability make plays at the point of attack could enable him to similarly end up being a perennial All-Star in the future.

Alabama’s 6-9 freshman forward, Brandon Miller may be the most controversial and riskiest prospect, especially in light of recent events.  Skill wise, his talent for playing basketball is undeniable.  He came storming into college basketball scene, as he scored 36 points in an early season matchup against Gonzaga, and he is a smooth, sharpshooting forward that can make shots effortlessly, is a rangy defender, and is a shot-creating, go-to scorer whose all-around game and strong skill set seems to make him a future superstar for the NBA.  It seemed as though he played himself to be a likely top 3 pick for the 2023 NBA Draft.

But recently though, new information has emerged and come to light.  It’s been reported in the news that Brandon Miller brought and provided the gun to his then teammate, Darius Miles that led to the tragic murder of Jamea Harris.  It was also reported that Miller and Jaden Bradley allegedly had parked their cars in such a way that blocked the road that may have prevented the victim from being able to escape.

Whether if Miller was in the wrong place and wrong time, like his coach Nate Oats suggested, or if Miller may have been an accessory to murder, this is definitely not a good development in any way shape or form, and this will certainly raise a major red flag in looking into Miller and Bradley’s character.  Ultimately, it was tragic about what happened to Jamea Harris, as it was a terrible tragedy that could’ve been prevented, and Brandon Miller could’ve tried to help de-escalate the situation, or at least he could’ve decided not to give his then teammate, Darius Miles the gun.

In any case, Brandon Miller probably is no longer the best prospect currently playing in the college basketball landscape.  In fact, if he were any other player, he’d probably be suspended indefinitely and dismissed, and he would be asked to be held accountable for his actions and his part in what happened that day.  But Miller is a superstar player in college basketball, so it’s not surprising that he’ll continue to play.  But for NBA personnel that are wondering if they should draft him, my answer is that maybe they shouldn’t.  Miller is a tremendously talented prospect, but in light of recent events, he will have to prove himself all over again that he may be worth their trouble.

Even more troublesome is that plenty of this stuff has happened on Nate Oats’ watch.  Former Alabama guard Joshua Primo (who was recruited to play for Nate Oats) was released from the San Antonio Spurs after exposing himself to his psychologist, Darius Miles was one of two men that was charged with capital murder, and Brandon Miller allegedly provided the gun to Miles that may have led to that.  In any case, this looks like a big stink onto Alabama’s basketball team, and it’s not something that they can easily wash away or recover from.

As for me, I think the conversation as to who may be the third best prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft will likely shift back to the usual candidates.  The Thompson twins (Amen and Ausar Thompson) are both tremendously athletic point forwards whose ability to create shots with the ball in their hands and ability to defend multiple positions make them really intriguing prospects.  Jarace Walker has prototypical size for a small forward, and he’s a strong, very athletic forward who seems to do everything well, and can defend positions one through five.  Cam Whitmore is a strong, very athletic swingman for Villanova that has had an up and down season, but he was terrific in the High School All-Star games, and he’s had moments where he’s dominated as a scorer and defender on the floor.  On top of that, there are other candidates that may very well be worthy of being in this conversation that I’m leaving out.

It’s a shame that Miller may have been the provided the gun that led to murder, and that should at least take him out of the top 3 pick conversation for the 2023 NBA Draft.  It doesn’t change the past or what happened, but time will tell if Miller happened to be at the wrong place and wrong time, or if he may have been accessory to a crime that was committed that day.  But either way, this is not good news for Miller or Alabama basketball.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on how Brandon Miller, G.G. Jackson, and other various prospects played in yesterday’s basketball game that took place between Alabama and South Carolina, as well as my thoughts on Miller’s situation and possible involvement that led to the tragic murder of Jamea Harris.  Thanks for reading.

NBA Scouting Live
error: Content is protected !!