Opinion: Brandon Miller Is Basketball’s Next Great Villain Story
Wednesday, the Alabama Crimson Tide (24-4, 14-1) escaped a close game against the South Carolina Gamecocks (10-18, 3-12) thanks to a legendary performance by Brandon Miller.
The star freshman from Cane Ridge High School put up 41 points in the contest, scoring over half of the Crimson Tide's total points on the night with 78.
Miller reached a career high in points just one day after the extent of his involvement in the Darius Miles case was revealed, during a less than optimal week for Alabama basketball.
Now, I am not here to go into great detail on the events that have transpired. Instead, this column is solely focused on basketball and what transpires on the court.
No charges have been filed by Tuscaloosa Police, and the University of Alabama has deemed Miller eligible to play based on its review of the latest information.
Brandon Miller went into Columbia on Wednesday night and single-handedly earned the win for the Crimson Tide. Take whatever opinion you have on the events of the past few days, and step back to think about that for a moment.
41 points, while a roaring student section chants for you to be arrested. 41 points, as the nation immediately assumes the worst of your character. 41 points, during a game Alabama could not afford to lose, with a No. 1 seed in its sights.
Talk about the making of a great villain story.
To be a great villain in sports, one needs to check a handful of boxes.
Are they superbly talented, with the ability to take over a game? Check.
Do they possess even an ounce of cockiness? Check.
Can they make a clutch shot with a game on the line? Check.
Are they fueled by criticism and rival crowds? Check.
Brandon Miller and the University of Alabama embraced a villain role on Wednesday night in Columbia. There's no turning back, at least for the remainder of Miller's career in crimson over the next month.
Tuscaloosa adores the freshman. Coleman Coliseum will erupt Saturday afternoon when No. 24 is announced in the starting lineup. However, outside the friendly confines of the Yellowhammer State, the future NBA lottery pick is bound to hear quite a few words.
And that is perfectly okay.
Miller demonstrated mental toughness Wednesday inside Colonial Life Arena, similar to some NBA greats that stand the test of time.
Comparisons on Twitter ranged from Kevin Durant to Kobe Bryant following the win.
To have your name mentioned amongst NBA legends with multiple rings, at the age of 20? Just wow.
Any time Alabama needed a bucket Wednesday, the freshman sensation delivered for the Tide in an ice-cold manner.
All of this coming amidst fierce ongoing criticism on Twitter and in the news.
I mean, talk about a cold-blooded beast on the basketball court.
There's no turning back to being the nice guy now. Brandon Miller can and should fully embrace the villain role, as the Tide prepares for a run through March.
Media members quick to react without all the facts on Twitter and fans of rival schools have crossed the line multiple times in the past few days.
If Brandon Miller wants to talk after dominating on the court, he damn sure earned that right.
Alabama and Miller may not be Tennessee baseball in terms of arrogance, but the talk is certainly backed up. The Tide has beaten three conference opponents by 40 or more at home on the season, while picking up wins at Houston and Auburn in hostile road environments.
Embracing the role of the sports villain, both as a team and individual in Brandon Miller, can only propel this team.
No one liked Alabama football after its first title under Saban in 2009. Why does the basketball team need any love outside Tuscaloosa?
Let your play on the court do the talking and go win the whole damn thing.
Alabama vs South Carolina Men's Basketball
Alabama vs. Georgia