Brandon Miller was held scoreless by Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but Alabama’s beaten opponents do not expect that to happen again.
Miller is projected to go in the top three of the NBA Draft, making him the top prospect playing in March Madness, with Victor Wembanyama in France and Scoot Henderson in the NBA G League.
But the Crimson Tide freshman failed to score a point in Alabama’s 96-75 win on Thursday, having averaged 19.6 points per game this season up to that point, failing to reach double figures just once.
Miller is dealing with a groin injury and played only 19 minutes, although he still took and missed five field goals.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi coach Steve Lutz, who had previously suggested Miller would need to fall ill to be stopped, does not expect that performance to be repeated as the tournament continues.
“Maybe he had an off night. I really don’t know,” Lutz said. “I know that I watched him on tape and he’s really, really good.
“So for us to have collectively done the job that we did on him defensively is a feather our cap, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen again, to be honest with you.”
Alabama coach Nate Oats added: “It was nice to be able to put up 96 without Brandon scoring a point.
“We were trying to play him limited minutes. We were able to keep him under 20. Hopefully, he can get a lot of rehab today and tomorrow and look a lot more like himself on Saturday.”
Miller, for his part, was keen not to blame his injury.
“If that’s what you want to call it, we can go with that,” he replied when asked if it was the reason for his limited minutes.
Amid the excitement around his involvement in the tournament, Miller has also been the subject of significant attention for off-court matters.
Former team-mate Darius Miles was charged with capital murder following the shooting death of a 23-year-old woman near the Alabama campus, and police are said to believe Miller supplied the firearm.
Miller has not been charged, nor is he considered a suspect, and according to the university, he has been cooperating with the police as a witness.
The forward has attended the tournament with security detail, with Oats revealing he had been the target of threats before the team’s first game.
“If you guys saw some of what I’ve seen sent his way, I think you would understand why that’s the case,” the coach said of Miller’s security.
Miller added: “It doesn’t bother me. I send it [the threats] to the right people, and then they handle it.”
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