Alabama basketball star freshman Brandon Miller declares for NBA Draft 2023

The declaration is not a surprise, but it's now official. Alabama basketball star freshman Brandon Miller is entering the NBA Draft, his father Darrell Miller confirmed to The Tuscaloosa News on Thursday.

ESPN was first to report the news.

Miller is expected to be a lottery pick in this year's draft. ESPN has him projected as the No. 3 overall prospect and the top college player.

"First I would like to thank God and give all the glory to him," Miller wrote on Instagram on Friday. "Since I arrived on campus in May, this school and fan base has shown me nothing but love and support, and for that, I will be forever grateful."

He thanked the coaches and his teammates. "We will always be brothers for life," Miller wrote. He also thanked his family for unconditional love.

"Ever since I was little, my dream has always been to play in the NBA, and I am excited to pursue that goal by officially declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft," Miller's post read. "I cannot wait to start the next chapter of my life. Roll Tide!"

The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 22 and the NCAA early entry withdrawal deadline is May 31, but it's unlikely that Miller changes his plans and returns to college basketball.

Miller led the Crimson Tide to the Sweet 16 this season as the team's leading scorer, averaging 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Miller also led the SEC in scoring en route to being named the SEC player of the year as a freshman.

The Antioch, Tennessee, native had back-to-back double-doubles with 20-plus points and 12 rebounds in the SEC Tournament to secure the conference tournament championship. His efforts also helped Alabama win the SEC regular-season title and secure the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Miller had 14 games this season with at least 20 points. He also tallied 30 or more points in four games this season (Gonzaga, LSU, Vanderbilt and South Carolina).

Miller set the Alabama freshman scoring record in the SEC Tournament semifinals against Missouri, passing Collin Sexton, who had 632 points over 33 games in 2017-18. Miller finished with 696 points over 37 games.

During his lone season with the Crimson Tide, Miller was also at the center of controversy.

A police investigator testified during a preliminary hearing on Feb. 21 that the gun used in a fatal Jan. 15 shooting was transported to the scene in Miller's car.

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Former Alabama player Darius Miles, 21, and Michael Davis, 21, who is not affiliated with the basketball program or university, were arrested and charged with capital murder after the shooting death of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris.

Miller has not been charged with a crime, and his attorney said Miller never touched the gun, was not involved in its exchange and never knew illegal activity involving the gun would occur.

Investigators believe the gun belonged to Miles, but believe Davis pulled the trigger. Both remained jailed without bond.

Miller's attorney, Jim Standridge, said Miles asked for a ride to a night club on the Strip and Miles brought his handgun and left it in the back seat of Miller's vehicle.

"Brandon never saw the handgun nor handled it," Standridge said. "Further, it is our understanding that the weapon was concealed under some clothing in the back seat of the car."

Miller was neither suspended by the university, nor did he miss any playing time.

After the South Carolina game on Feb. 22, coach Nate Oats said he and the administration decided for Miller to play because Oats and UA "make decisions based on available facts, and that's what we did here."

Miller spoke on the subject of the fatal shooting for the first time on March 8.

"I never lose sight of the fact that a family lost one of their loved ones that night," Miller said. "This whole situation is just really heartbreaking. Respectfully, that's all I'm going to be able to say on that."

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Brandon Miller: Alabama basketball forward declares for NBA Draft 2023