Alabama Basketball, now 15-2 and 5-0 in the SEC, is enjoying a far better season than even the most optimistic fan could have predicted. So is his best player, freshman Brandon Miller.
Miller started the season with a lot of hype based on recruit rankings and high school performance. There was much ado about his name in the offseason after dominating several exhibition games.
Despite this, Brandon Miller has managed to exceed all expectations so far. After his spectacular performance against LSU on Saturday afternoon, it’s time to talk about him in a different light.
Miller shot 11-16 from the field and 7-11 from the three-point line against the Tigers for 31 points and nine rebounds. The freshman has been so incredible this season that the 31-point effort wasn’t even his career-high (36 vs. Gonzaga), and his seven three-pointers scored only matched his career-high (7-9 vs. Jacksonville State).
It was evident from the start of the season that Miller was on the shortlist of the nation’s top rookies. At this point in the year, it’s fair to consider the possibility that he could be college basketball’s best player regardless of his class. The more games Alabama plays basketball, the more impressive he becomes.
Alabama Basketball: Conversation between Brandon Miller and NPOY
According to CBS Sports’ David Cobb, Miller joins four seniors as the frontrunner in the national player of the year race. Purdue’s Zach Edey, Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis and Gonzaga’s Drew Timme are all post players who are well established in the college basketball landscape. So does Kansas winger Jalen Wilson, one of only two returning starters from the Jayhawks’ 2022 national championship roster.
It’s remarkable that Miller does so well against this group. Statistically, he’s her equivalent, averaging 19.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the three-point line. His ability to get hot from the outside could be a divisive factor. Miller has already hit four or more three-pointers in eight different games and made six or more three-pointers. He can quickly take over a game in a way that sets him apart from Edey, Tubelis, Timme and Wilson.
Brandon Miller and Drew Timme already had a master class in Gonzaga’s 100-90 win over Alabama, scoring 65 points together. Ideally, we’ll see more of these matchups between elite singles players in March.
Brandon Miller currently leads the SEC in score, three-point percentage and three-point match (56). He is also third in the league in rebounds. He’s the top player in one of college basketball’s top conferences, and he’s gradually breaking away from the crowd as the SEC schedule unfolds.
It’s only mid-January, but it’s perfectly reasonable to be talking about newcomer sensation Brandon Miller as potential international of the year.