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

JJ Watt offers to help pay Rockets owner’s fine

WATCH: Birthday boy Aaron Judge homers and makes spectacular catch at Fenway

Predators rookie Kevin Fiala carted off and hospitalized after gruesome collision

Warriors invite members of ‘We Believe’ team to playoff game

Report: Emails suggest no foul play in Eli Manning memorabilia case

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Adrian Beltre not close to return to Rangers

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander fined $100,000 for confronting official

Pirates call up Gift Ngoepe, first MLB player from African continent

Genie Bouchard: Maria Sharapova is ‘cheater,’ should be banned for life

Browns’ Joe Thomas: ‘I’m already seeing memory loss’

Westbrook hasn’t ‘even thought about’ contract extension

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Box Score 4/26: NFL Draft eve

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

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

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

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