There’s no doubt that Marshall Henderson is the heart and soul of the Ole Miss basketball team, but the journeyman guard has been on quite a journey through three different schools, run-ins with the law and plenty of controversy to get to where he is now.
Here’s a brief introduction to the act that is Marshall Henderson.
The Hurst, Texas native spent his freshman season at Utah where he started 30 games but decided to transfer to Texas Tech in order to get closer to home. He also said Utah head coach Jim Boylen’s rules and restrictions didn’t fit his “individualism.”
But things didn’t go as planned in Henderson’s journey.
After Pat Knight, Texas Tech’s head coach at the time, was fired, Henderson decided to terminate his transfer and go to junior college at South Plains College. There, he led the Texans to a perfect record and a Junior College National Championship while being named an All-American and Junior College Player of the Year.
Henderson, now a junior, then elected to transfer to Ole Miss. The results have been everything the Rebels could have wished for-to a degree. The player who is nicknamed “White Chocolate” has helped lead the Rebels to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002 and a date with Wisconsin in the first round.
But what have drawn the ire of many in the college basketball world are the bizarre antics of the junior on and off the court.
In 2010, Henderson was arrested for forgery after buying marijuana with $800 of counterfeit money. Last spring, Henderson spent 25 days in jail for violating his parole when he tested positive for marijuana, alcohol and cocaine on a blood test. After winning the SEC Tournament last weekend, pictures surfaced of a visibly intoxicated Henderson and a tweet from his Twitter account proclaimed “jst had to say …. 10 IN A ROW IN PONG!! WHO WANTS TO SEE US?!?!”
On the court, Henderson has made a name for himself for an incident where he threw ice that had been thrown on the court back at his own team’s student section and, more famously, for celebrating a win on the road at Auburn by flapping the front of his jersey at members of their student section, bringing a slew of cuss words and extended middle fingers from the enraged fans.
Senior forward Murphy Holloway, Henderson’s teammate and First Team All-SEC forward for Ole Miss, explained in an interview with The Badger Herald how people come to either love or hate his teammate.
“He’s a wonderful guy, but if he’s not on your team you’re not going to like him,” Holloway said. “The way he plays, when he plays basketball or any sport, if he plays wiffle ball, he talks trash, even to us. If you’re not on his team you’re not on his team in whatever sport you play.”
It’s that chip on his shoulder, that “me against the world” mentality, that made Henderson such a villain in the SEC this season and a polarizing figure in college basketball. Still, the fact remains Marshall is one heck of a player. Named the SEC Newcomer of the Year by the AP and the SEC Player of the Year by CBS Sports, the guard led his conference in points per game with 20.1 a contest- and with an average of 11 three-pointers attempted a game.
Various team’s defenses have tried to slow Henderson down, but he’s consistently found a way to get his shots. Even if they’re not open, even if they miss badly sometimes, Henderson is the classic version of what we call a “gunner” in basketball. He has no conscious, he will shoot from anywhere and you can almost guarantee he’s going to get his points.
Wisconsin will need to be wary of this little lightning bolt of energy on Ole Miss. If they let him get going early, it could be one long afternoon of the Marshall Henderson Show in Kansas City.