Alabama freshman Brandon Miller, whose tremendous season on the court has been clouded by controversy off it, is The Associated Press player of the year and newcomer of the year in the Southeastern Conference.
Texas A&M’s Buzz Williams was named coach of the year on Tuesday in voting by 14 reporters who cover the SEC.
Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor IV and Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe, last year’s national player of the year, were unanimous first-team picks. The other first-team selections are Missouri guard/forward Kobe Brown and Mississippi State forward Tolu Smith.
Miller was a first-team pick on all but one ballot, received 12 player of the year votes and 11 as top newcomer for the regular-season SEC champions and No. 4-ranked Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-9 forward is only the fourth freshman in the last 50 years to lead the SEC in scoring, averaging 19.6 points along with 8.0 rebounds. He is also tops in 3-pointers made, making 92 and hitting at a 40.4% rate.
Miller’s name surfaced in court testimony in the capital murder case of now-former teammate Darius Miles and another man in the shooting death of 23-year-old Jamea Harris near campus.
A police officer testified that Miles texted Miller asking him to bring Miles’ gun in the early morning hours of Jan. 15. Fellow freshman starter Jaden Bradley was also at the scene. Neither has missed a start or been accused of any crime. The university has described Miller as a cooperating witness, not a suspect.
A day after that testimony, Miller scored 41 points and hit the game-winning shot in overtime to beat South Carolina amid jeers from Gamecocks fans. Afterward, Alabama coach Nate Oats called Miller “one of the most mentally tough kids I’ve ever coached.”
The Aggies’ Taylor also received two votes as player of the year. LSU forward KJ Williams, Arkansas guards Ricky Council IV and Anthony Black each received a vote for newcomer of the year.
Williams received eight votes, Missouri’s Dennis Gates five and Alabama’s Oats one in the coach of the year balloting.
The second team included Council, Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler, Williams, Florida forward Colin Castleton and Vanderbilt forward Liam Robbins.
Guard — Kobe Brown, Missouri, Sr., 6-8, 250, Huntsville, Alabama.
u-Guard — Wade Taylor IV, Texas A&M, So., 6-0, 185, Dallas.
Forward — Brandon Miller, Alabama, Fr., 6-9, 200, Antioch, Tennessee.
Forward — Tolu Smith, Mississippi St., Sr., 6-11, 245, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
u-Forward — Oscar Tshwiebe, Sr., 6-9, 260, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Guard — Ricky Council IV, Arkansas, Jr., 6-6, 205, Durham, North Carolina.
Guard — Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee, So., 5-9, 171, Long Island, New York.
Forward — Colin Castleton, Florida, Sr., 6-11, 250, Deland, Florida.
Forward — Liam Robbins, Vanderbilt, Sr., 7-0, 250, Davenport, Iowa.
Forward — KJ Williams, LSU, Sr,, 6-10, 250, Cleveland, Mississippi.
Coach of the year — Buzz Williams, Texas A&M.
Player of the year — Brandon Miller, Alabama.
Newcomer of the year — Brandon Miller, Alabama.
___ AP All-SEC Voting Panel: Rick Bozich, WDRB-TV, Louisville, Kentucky; Kevin Brockway, Gainesville Sun; Travis Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle; David Cloninger, Post & Courier; Adam Cole, Opelika-Auburn News; Clayton Collier, WATN-TV, Memphis, Tennessee; Robbie Faulk, Starkville Daily News; Aria Gerson, The Tennessean; Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Stefan Krajisnik, Clarion-Ledger; Dave Matter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Sheldon Mickles, Baton Rouge Advocate; Mike Rodak, al.com; Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25