Alabama looks to win things by letting Brandon Miller play

It was Ernie Banks who said, “It’s a beautiful day for a murder! Let’s waste two!”?

Brandon Miller — Alabama’s star 6-foot-1 freshman forward — scored 41 points in an overtime win at South Carolina on Wednesday night. It was worth the price of submission.

It mattered that police in Tuscaloosa, Ala., had described Miller as involved in a shooting death near campus, claiming in a hearing that he handed a Bama teammate the gun used to shoot a 23-year-old mother, Jamea Harris, until death;

Obviously not. At 24-4 and with the NCAA Tournament looming, the Crimson Tide had no time to worry about trivial “distractions” like the kill. After all, it wasn’t, thank God, a high ankle sprain.

You’re probably now familiar with the “broken windows theory,” often used by astrologers to describe how neighborhoods decline from minor crimes to major ones, until they rot beyond repair from disaster.

However, the general theory – that small problems breed bigger problems – can be applied to describe anything – from pizza, to hospitals, to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

And in Division I college basketball.

Next up is the NCAA Tournament, and with it an all-day, all-night stream of hyped, hyped, feel-good tunes and cheers delivered by television—some pure imagination—married with a college-fronted business installed behind so many broken windows that it can’t hide anymore the blood escaping at the orifice.

Brandon Williams drives to the basket for Alabama on Saturday.

Wanna Be Real or Punch Your Ticket Big Dance Brackets Group?

Winning college basketball games at all costs—filling gyms, maximizing television value, recruiting the next crop of players who otherwise have no legitimate business enrolling in any college—is no longer just a matter of routine fraud.

Academic and financial frauds will not do what they did by themselves. Neither do crooked coaches, sneaker company payola, and college presidents getting paid off by win-and-play idiots.

Almost hastily, though you could see it gathering offshore, colleges have chosen to ignore the warning signs by recruiting players who potentially pose a clear, present and escalating danger to genuine students, those with legitimate reasons to be on campus. No ban on young guys with guns.

Increasingly, the only thing a recruit with full scholarships and cash benefits needs to have for school is their handgun that they bought, carried or illegally carried. Or just a gun. Or fully loaded rifle, missing serial numbers. It doesn’t have to be his gun, it can belong to his friend from home.

What happened last at the University of Alabama, until recently best known as a school that recruited felony-prone football players, was the remains of what was seen through the broken windows below the hall where the basketball department resides.

Alabama coach Nat Oates

All the elements were in place, but none so obvious as to prevent them from offering a full tour plus cash to anyone, anywhere – as long as they could help win basketball games, with no other qualifications asked, explored, needed or be requested.

So Bama’s 6-foot-6 star Miller, a projected 20-plus-point-per-game NBA prospect, played Wednesday for the Crimson Tide. His former teammate, Darius Miles (who claims his “friend” from Washington, D.C., did the actual shooting near campus after, according to investigators, Miller handed the gun to Miles) was charged with accessory to murder, and so he was quickly flown out of Alabama. Hey was it a rub anyway i dig?

As for star Miller, coach Nate Oats — just weeks ago toasting the state with a new multi-year, multimillion-dollar-per-deal deal to stay at ‘Bama — has been tripping over his tongue since the murder.

On his alleged starring role in the murder:

“We knew about it. I can’t control everything everyone does outside of practice. Nobody knew what was going to happen. The college kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any trouble nor is he in any trouble in this case. Wrong place at the wrong time.”

But the “point,” in this case, was a murder scene in which at least two of Oats’ recruits allegedly handed over the murder weapon. Just bad luck, coach?

In addition, Alabama chose not to discipline Jaden Bradley, another Tide basketball player who investigators claim was at the scene of the shooting. Unlike Miles, Bradley is averaging 22 minutes.

But this — not that you’d know it from watching college basketball games on TV or soon to be told during the SEC or NCAA tournaments — was a season marked by guns and death.

Forward Brandon Miller (24) huddles with teammates in the second half against Arkansas on Saturday.

Coban Porter, a University of Denver guard, has been charged in the DUI death of a 42-year-old woman. What the hell happened during and after New Mexico State forward Michael Peek got “dragged” into a situation that resulted in a shootout and the death of a University of New Mexico student? Since then, NMSU’s schedule has been suspended for a separate hazing incident because a fatal shot by the player wasn’t enough.

Recruits at Pitt, Canisius and Eastern Michigan, among others, have been charged with illegally concealing weapons.

There is no recruiting standard or risk that colleges will obey to deprive them of a basketball win that, in the short and long term, is worth nothing of intrinsic, useful academic value. However, don’t expect Jim Nantz, Ernie Johnson or Clark Kellogg to report this. Expect it to be more according to Crimson Tide fans, who gave Miller a standing ovation to start the Bama game on Saturday.

But as Alabama’s Oats might say now: “Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can cost you a gun-toting recruit or two, now involved in a murder.”

The radio makes listening difficult

My biggest wish for local baseball fans this season is for the Yankees and Mets radio producers and marketers to somehow sell more compelling, creative and effective per-inning commercial packages.

What has happened in recent seasons, especially on Yankees radio, has become a collection of many distracting commercials read by voices from Suzyn Waldman to Howie Rose as a systematic annoyance to them and to us.

Baseball on the radio, once a cherished art form, has, like much of the game, been scrambled or abandoned for nickels and dimes. Any improvement – any – would be great.

Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan
Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hey Jim, refunds for MSG viewers?

The fact that MSG Network has decided that Rangers crews will no longer make trips to the West Coast to cut costs is great news!

Jimmy Dolan has the machinery to know, by face, if not by name, every single one of the MSG subscribers and every save in those Rangers road games, so it will all be returned as another show of good faith!

Given that the entire Yankees television and radio crews have long been in need of an overhaul as George Steinbrenner’s final legacy, nothing we’ve heard of or from Justin Shackil would preclude a welcome change.

Well, Aaron Rodgers has just reached Kanye West status: Diminishing odds for those who even care.

So again, who won Terry Bradshaw’s $1 million?