Henderson an imperfect poster boy

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 31, 2013
The talkative and brash Marshall Henderson is the face of Mississippi's basketball program. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not so good. His play and antics have led to plenty of attention for the No. 16 Rebels (17-3, 6-1 SEC), who face No. 8 Florida (17-2, 7-0) in Gainesville on Saturday in a matchup of the SEC's two top-ranked teams. Henderson has been so good during his first two months in the SEC that the 6-foot-2 junior has brought a rare spotlight to a program that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2002. He leads the conference in scoring at 19.3 points per game; he's averaging more than 21 in SEC contests. Being the SEC scoring leader also brings individual attention. The scrutiny into Henderson has revealed a player with a dynamic personality and a flair for the dramatic that opposing fans love to hate. In the first 20 games of his Ole Miss career, the fast-talking, emotional Henderson has hit a 35-foot buzzer beater against Vanderbilt to tie a game, celebrated in front of an angry Auburn student section after making two game-clinching free throws, and scored a combined 60 points against Tennessee over a two-game period. Coach Andy Kennedy has had several conversations with Henderson about channeling his emotions, but has stressed he views the exuberance as a good thing. Opposing coaches, including Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin and Kentucky's John Calipari, have said they enjoy watching Henderson play. ''It's passion,'' Kennedy said of Henderson's reactions. ''We don't want it to be misconstrued. Everything that he does is sincere. It is team first. We just want to make sure he funnels it in the proper way. He's a guy that's certainly going to garner attention.'' But all the attention has also revealed details about Henderson's checkered past, which includes a stint in jail last year because of a probation violation. According to court documents, Henderson was arrested for a 2009 incident in Tarrant County, Texas, and charged with misdemeanor forgery after buying marijuana with counterfeit money. He was eventually sentenced to two years of probation. Henderson was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in 2011 in Texas and sentenced to four months in jail during early 2012 for violating his probation, though not all of that time was actually served behind bars because he was on a work release program. Court documents also show that Henderson failed tests for alcohol, marijuana and cocaine while on probation. Ole Miss officials have said the athletic department was aware of Henderson's past legal issues when he signed, and that there have been no problems since he arrived on campus. Kennedy said Henderson's past might be news for opposing fans, but he doesn't expect the publicity to rattle his star guard. ''We've talked about it,'' Kennedy said Thursday. ''Marshall's a free spirit and a different thinker. I don't know exactly what would upset him one way or the other. These are things that he's dealt with. This is his reality. All of these things were two, three, some of them four years ago. I don't think people talking about them will offend him or get him off focus. I'm going to certainly try to make sure that's the case.'' Henderson was not made available for interviews on Thursday. It remains to be seen if all the attention will change Henderson's torrid scoring pace as Ole Miss enters its most crucial stretch of the season. He scored 21 points on Tuesday in the Rebels' first SEC loss to Kentucky, but shot just 5 of 19 from the field, including only 2 of 11 from 3-point range. The loss was costly for the Rebels. One of their most important reserves, Aaron Jones, a 6-foot-9 sophomore who is the primary backup for both Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner, tore the ACL in his left knee in the second half and is out for the season. Backup guard Nick Williams, who is averaging more than nine points per game, is also out indefinitely after re-aggravating a foot injury against the Wildcats. So the onus is on Henderson to keep producing for the shorthanded Rebels. That won't be easy against Florida, which is on a nine-game winning streak. The Gators have crushed everyone in the SEC so far; the closest game was a 64-47 victory over Georgia. Florida coach Billy Donovan is wary of Henderson, who is attempting nearly 11 3-pointers per game. ''He's got really, really good speed to come off screens,'' Donovan said. ''He's got the ability to kind of get himself squared up pretty quickly. He can make tough shots. He can make challenged shots.'' As for Henderson's on-court antics, Florida forward Will Yeguete wasn't particularly concerned. ''Players are just different,'' Yeguete said. ''We play with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion in the game and sometimes you do things that you don't realize you do until after. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Twitter, Facebook report engagement decline during Super Bowl

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Daniel Bryan says goodbye to WWE during teary retirement speech

Paul George delivers great line about driving by Kobe Bryant

WATCH: Oklahoma beats Texas on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker