Alabama men’s basketball forward Darius Miles was arrested Sunday and charged, along with another man, with capital murder after an early-morning shooting in Tuscaloosa that left a 23-year old woman dead.
Miles’ player biography page was removed was Alabama athletics’ website Sunday and the school issued a statement saying he had been “removed from campus” and was no longer a member of the basketball team.
Miles spent the past two-and-a-half seasons as mostly a bench player for Alabama. He appeared in 53 games, making two starts that both came during his sophomore season in 2021-22.
This season, Miles’ role had diminished. He played seven minutes off the bench in the Tide’s season opener Nov. 7 against Longwood but then missed the next four games because of an ankle injury.
Miles’ playing time was sparse after his return, which came when he played four minutes of a loss to UConn on Nov. 25. He did not participate in Alabama’s wins over a pair of No. 1-ranked teams in North Carolina (Nov. 27) and Houston (Dec. 10), and he saw limited action in four other games.
Miles’ season took another turn Dec. 28 when he was not on the bench in Starkville’s Humphrey Coliseum for Alabama’s win over Mississippi State. Coach Nate Oats opened his postgame video conference that night with reporters by addressing Miles’ situation.
“He’s out with a personal matter,” Oats said. “We’re not sure how long he’ll be out. We’re supporting him through it and trying to help him through it. That’s why he wasn’t on the bench tonight. It’s a personal matter. Not an injury. Not quite how long he’ll be out.”
Miles did not play in Alabama’s next three games against Ole Miss, Kentucky and Arkansas. He appeared on the court in athletic clothes for Alabama’s pre-game warmups ahead of its game Saturday against LSU in Coleman Coliseum, but an hour before tip-off, Alabama issued a statement about Miles.
“Alabama men’s basketball announced that junior Darius Miles will be sidelined for the rest of the season with an ankle injury,” the statement read. “Miles sustained the injury during preseason camp and saw limited action in six contests along with ongoing rehab since the original injury. After consulting with medical staff and Andrews’ Sports Medicine foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Norman Waldrop, it was determined to withhold Miles from basketball activities moving forward and focus on his rehabilitation of him.”
Miles was on the bench for Alabama’s 106-66 win over LSU and was seen celebrating with his teammates, as captured by an Associated Press photographer:
Even had Miles been healthy, his role would have been uncertain on an Alabama team that improved to 15-2 and 5-0 in the SEC with Saturday’s win, and is ranked No. 4 in the country. An influx of talented freshmen and transfers this offseason had earned playing time over Miles this season, and it was unlikely the junior would have seen any significant minutes over the remainder of the regular season or postseason.
In the six games he played this season, Miles played 40 minutes. He shot 2-of-6, including 1-of-3 on three pointers, and went 4-for-4 on his free throws. He scored nine points, had nine rebounds and turned the ball over nine times.
The 6-foot-6 Miles had been one of five high school recruits Alabama signed as part of its 2020 recruiting class, the first full class Oats assembled since being hired in March 2019. 247 Sports’ composite rated Miles as the fourth-best among those signees, with a three-star rating and No. 159 national ranking. He played for Theodore Roosevelt High School in Washington, DC and then on the IMG Academy post-graduate team in Florida.
“Darius has tremendous upside as a big wing that can play multiple positions,” Oats said in a statement when Miles signed his national letter of intent in April 2020. “He’s exceptionally skilled for his size on the perimeter. One of the best aspects of his game as I watched him was his passing ability from his position. His outlet passes and ability to handle the ball in the break will enable us to play even faster than what we had before. He has all the tools to be a great defender and rebounder as well.
“Playing his last year as a post-grad has given him a head start on what will be required of a freshman at a high major DI level. We think once he’s fully into our program he can contribute to our overall culture of winning up-tempo basketball and playing multiple positions for us.”
As a freshman in 2019-20, most of Miles’ playing time came in early-season non-conference games or in the closing minutes of decided wins. He displayed his athleticism when he threw down a one-handed dunk in the final minute of Alabama’s blowout victory over Georgia in February 2021.
Miles played only 72 minutes as a freshman, the 12th-most on the team and fewest of Alabama’s scholarship players. He scored 38 points and had 15 rebounds along with 15 turnovers on a Tide team that won the SEC regular season and SEC tournament, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Miles’ biggest role at Alabama came during his sophomore season in 2021-22. With injuries affecting Alabama’s depth, Miles played a total of 517 minutes — an average of 17.2 for the 30 games in which he appeared. He averaged 5.8 points per game while shooting 37.6 percent, one of the lowest marks on the team.
Miles did not play in a Dec. 29, 2021 game against Tennessee, with Oats saying afterward, “Darius was available but we choose not to play him until we see better practice habits.” He missed a Jan. 29 game against Baylor because of a knee injury, and then was suspended for a Feb. 5, 2022 game against Kentucky for a violation of team rules.
“Base on our conversation moving forward, how he handles himself, we’ll plan on him being available [the next game],” Oats said after that Kentucky game.
Entering his junior season this fall, Oats had optimism Miles would become a leader on the team as one of only four returning scholarship players.
“Darius Miles is definitely vocal,” Oats said Sept. 26. “We need him to be more consistent in practice.”
Miles had an opportunity for more playing time after starting guard Nimari Burnett suffered a wrist injury in mid-December. The first game Burnett missed, Miles played a season-high 13 minutes Dec. 13 against Memphis and scored seven points.
“I think Darius has kind of stayed locked in. He’s got some length and athleticism,” Oats said after that game. “We needed someone a little longer to guard [Memphis]. He was asking for them. I thought he played pretty well.
“He played hard, got some stops. And he’s a veteran guy that’s been in some big games and made some big plays for us in the past. So hopefully we can get him to practice well and get some confidence up. We need everybody to take care of the ball — he’s not the only one struggling with turnovers — but he’s got some stuff that we can use.”
Teammate Mark Sears, a junior guard, praised Miles’ contributions after Alabama’s 91-88 win over Memphis that night.
“He brought a lot of energy,” Sears said. “He really brought life to us. Everybody played harder when he was on the court.”
Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.