Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats has clarified his comments on star freshman Brandon Miller’s alleged involvement in a fatal shooting earlier this year after facing fierce backlash for saying the young player was in the “wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Oats, who has been head coach of the Crimson Tide men’s team since 2019, was asked about Miller’s involvement in the deadly shooting of Jamea Harris near the university’s campus in January during a press conference on Tuesday after police testimony revealed the freshman standout allegedly provided the gun used in the killing.
“We know about that,” he said in response to questions about Miller. “Can’t control everything everybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out. Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”
ALABAMA BASKETBALL STAR BRANDON MILLER PROVIDED GUN USED IN SHOOTING DEATH OF YOUNG WOMAN, POLICE SAY
The comments prompted harsh criticism on social media and later that night, Oats released a statement “clarifying” his remarks.
“I thought it was important for me to clarify the unfortunate remarks I made earlier. This entire time I’ve tried to be thoughtful in my words relative to this tragic incident, and my statements came across poorly,” his statement read.
“We were informed by law enforcement of other student-athletes being in the vicinity, and law enforcement has repeatedly told us that no other student-athletes were suspects—they were witnesses only. Our understanding is that they have all been fully truthful and cooperative.”
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He continued, “In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night. My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”
Ex-Alabama player Darius Miles, 21, and Michael Lynn Davis, 20, were both charged with capital murder in the January shooting death of Harris. Witness testimony identified Davis as the shooter, but new information revealed that Miles approached Miller about a gun.
Det. Branden Culpepper testified this week that Miller brought a gun to the Tuscaloosa strip prior to the shooting. Miles had asked Miller to bring it down, and he obliged, according to Culpepper.
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Culpepper said Miller got to the scene, and Miles told Davis, “The heat is in the hat,” referencing the gun, per AL.com. He also said, “There’s one in the head,” meaning a bullet was in the firing chamber.
Miles’ attorney, William C. White II, provided a statement to Fox News Digital Monday maintaining his client’s innocence.
“Darius Miles and his family are heartbroken tonight over the death of Jamea Jonae Harris,” the statement said. “While Darius has been accused of being involved with this tragedy, he maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court. Our firm’s own investigation is ongoing, and no further statement will be made at this time.”
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.