Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
SEC didn’t botch this one with Miller
Alabama forward Brandon Miller brings the ball up the court during a game against Auburn earlier this month in Auburn, Ala. (Associated Press)
The SEC’s slogan, “It Just Means More,” never meant more than it did Monday when the league announced its players of the week.
It was not Alabama’s Brandon Miller, who as everyone knows, reportedly delivered a murder weapon and didn’t receive so much as a slap on the wrist.
Since the news broke last week of his involvement in a Jan. 15 shooting that left a 23-year-old mom dead, the Crimson Tide have played two games. Miller scored 41 against South Carolina and grabbed 8 rebounds and followed that up with 24 points and 6 rebounds. That’s an average of 32.5 points per game and 7 rebounds.
The SEC named Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe as its player of the week after he averaged 23.5 and 10.5 rebounds in two wins.
The SEC was spot on again when it named Nick Smith as its freshman of the week for the second time. Smith scored 26 points in a win over Georgia and 24 in the loss at Alabama.
Granted, Tshiebwe had more rebounds, but his winning the weekly award may have had something to do with the lack of class Miller shows before games. During the player introductions, he gets patted down like he’s being searched for a weapon.
He’s done it all year and continues to do so even after his role in a shootout on the streets of Tuscaloosa.
Head coach Nate Oats released an apology Sunday and said it won’t happen again.
He said he was unaware of it, although it has happened 29 times this season.
Oats fumbled the press conference after the news of Miller broke last Tuesday. Who would be prepared for such an event, but to not know about the pregame routine is on his back.
Someone on that team should have advised Miller that it was going to look especially bad to be introduced with a pat down after a teammate has been charged with capital murder, and the gun used was brought to the scene by Miller.
There was a text asking Miller to bring the teammate’s joint, a slang term for gun, although the claim now is Miller didn’t know the gun was under some clothes in the back seat of his vehicle.
That may fly in Alabama but not many other places.
As for now, it is SEC 1, Alabama 0 when it comes to showing some class.
In other SEC news last week, Ole Miss fired head basketball coach Kermit Davis with three games remaining.
Apparently, Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter (Perryville) and Davis mutually agreed for him to walk away now rather than later.
Apparently Davis remains employed as an ambassador for Ole Miss with a $900,000 annual salary.
While football is the tail that wags the dog at Ole Miss — and all the SEC schools with the exception of Kentucky — it has a good basketball history, especially the four years when Carter played there.
He knows it can happen again.
Usually, if a coach gets fired before the end of the regular season, someone is on the radar to replace him, but that’s not always the case.
The new coach won’t be Kentucky’s John Calipari, who has gotten the wolves off his front door, at least for now.
Since all charges have been dropped, Chris Beard’s name might be heard, but it is probably too soon and not sure SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey would sign off on it at this juncture.
The hot name would have been Georgia’s Michael White, who was a teammate and personal friend of Carter’s, but he just left Florida for Georgia less than a year ago.
If asked, White might suggest Dusty May, one of his former assistants who is in his fifth season as head coach at Florida Atlantic. He’s never had a losing season and is 26-3 this season with a NCAA NET ranking of No. 19.
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