Marshall Henderson arrived in Oxford Mississippi last year as the 2011-2012 Junior College player of the year with hopes that he would be the missing piece on a team that was strong in the post.
Head coach Andy Kennedy was entering his seventh season as head coach at Ole Miss and even though he has only finished a season with less than 20 wins once in his tenure, he had failed to reach the NCAA tournament at Ole Miss. Kennedy was desperate.
Kennedy parted ways with Ole Miss’ leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson in 2011 due to off-the-court legal issues and after dropping games, Kennedy knew he needed to find immediate help on the perimeter.
Henderson had already burned bridges at two schools previously. He left the University of Utah to be closer to home at Texas Tech and then went the juco route after Pat Knight was fired for South Plains College.
During this time, his legal record was long and should have raised red flags.
Henderson was arrested in high school in 2009 for buying drugs with counterfeit money. During his two year probation, he tested positive for alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. He served 25 days in jail for violating his probation during the summer before arriving in Oxford.
Marshall’s Father Willie Henderson says, “Marshall has owned up to his actions and dealt with the consequences.” He was 18 years old and he made a mistake. He’s paid for that. He’s realized that. He’s certainly come to terms with that. What I’ve seen is a success story.”
Marshall Henderson gets second chances because of his play on the court, it certainly makes his play off the court more palatable.
When Billy Gillispie was coaching at Texas Tech, he set up a drill for Henderson where he made 71 of 74 three pointers. A similar drill at South Plains resulted in 88 of 100 made three point shots. He averaged nearly 20 points a game at South Plains, leading his team to a 36-0 record and a NJCAA national championship.
Sometimes the passion he brings with his game, becomes unbridled emotion, and it continues to push the limits of his team and himself. There is a constant ying and yang with Marshall Henderson as there is with most people.
Head Coach Andy Kennedy was quoted last year regarding Marshall Henderson’s passion, “What he is, is passionate, and I think that’s a good thing. What you see is something that is not made up. You see a kid who cares. He’s a competitor. What we try to do is channel it in a positive way. I don’t want the passion to become emotional, where it becomes a negative.”
At times he can be a virtual shooting machine beating his chest and inviting anyone to stop him. Sometimes all you get is the bravado. He is a complex individual that is not easy to trust but hard to keep off the court.
At Ole Miss, there are no other options. The emergence of Jarvis Summers this year has been an unexpected suprise but Jarvis likely would not have gotten as many shots without Henderson attracting so much attention from defenses. No one on the bench can match Marshall’s energy and scoring potential.
So, for better or for worse, Kennedy made his bed with Henderson and had to lie in it come what may.
What came for the Rebels was “Marshall Mania” which put Olemiss in the national media spotlight. A position, Ole Miss basketball has never honestly never been before. The 2012-2013 season saw Henderson become a Media darling after making a half court shot against Vanderbilt on the road to send the Rebels to overtime. A game they went on to win.
In late January, “Marshall Mania” went to Auburn and he helped the Rebels outlast a determined Auburn team and proceeded to bait the entire Auburn student section with a prominent jersey “pop.”
After struggling down the stretch of 2013, Henderson had a prominent role in helping his team run through the SEC tournament beating Missouri, Vanderbilt and #13 Florida in successive days. His trolling of Gator fans by using their own “Gator chomp” against them was both satisfying and fearsome if you are an Ole Miss fan. It was akin to taunting a lion with a stick. Ole Miss basketball fans are not used to this type of success.
For all the wins in his career at OleMiss, there were just as many games where he was cold from behind the arc. If he didn’t shoot so much could this team play better overall? There are many questions we will never answer.
This season, the Rebels are without the Senior big men, Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway. A decided youth movement has resulted in growing pains that Andy Kennedy has not been able to overcome.
Without the complement of a potent front court, it tends to nulify Marshall Henderson’s prolific scoring. Even with very similar results from year one to year two, Henderson’s long shot misses are rarely rebounded by Ole Miss players this year.
Henderson’s average man to man defense is more of a liability in year two. His tendancy to shoot more when he is missing shots takes shots away from other players that might take a higher percentage shot.
It is also possible that his ball-hogging type of play prevents the team from improving. Set plays are not very important to Henderson and the team is unlikely to get in a rhythm and younger players tend to stand around and watch Henderson shoot.
But you can’t discuss Marshall Henderson without acknowledging Ole Miss’ apperance in the 2013 NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002. Ole Miss fans will no doubt only remember the good times about their beloved players. Henderson struggled in the first half against Wisconsin but hit enough shots near the end to help pull away and get an NCAA win pouring in 19 points.
The fact that Henderson took the Rebels back to SEC championships and the NCAA tournament will be his lasting legacy.
Whether you love him or hate him, he brought a skill set to Ole Miss that has never been seen. A player that is a vocal leader as well as a player that can win a game all by himself.
Marshall has the SEC record in making a three point shot in every game he has played for the Rebs so far (now 64 straight games). Marshall is the fourth Rebel ever to score over 1,000 points in two years (1,235). He has the school record with 10 three pointers in a game. Currently, he is second in the nation with 4.37 three pointers made per game. He is fourth in the SEC in overall scoring this year with 19.2 points per game.
Senior day resulted in a 65-62 win in a game Vanderbilt led for all but two minutes. If you watched the game, the only reason Ole Miss won was because of effort, initiated by Marshall. He finished his last game in Oxford with 18 points on 5-19 shooting. Not his best game but Rebel fans will miss this guy next year, and this team could have a big drop off if someone doesn’t step into the leadership role Henderson leaves.
Post game Marshall had this to say about being the only Senior on Senior day, “The fans at Ole Miss always encourage me, through the good times and even when they went whatever – Ole Miss is a family.”
Today as Ole Miss’ only Senior we should recognize his talent as a player and his faults as a human, but Rebel fans should always be glad he chose the University of Mississippi.
Hugh Freeze enters his third season at Ole Miss and is close to working with a full roster. MIRS is working on some roster comparisons between this years class and some notable teams in the past but needless to say this 2014 Ole Miss team is very talented in the two-deep.
Depth continues to be an issue at some positions, especially the offensive line. In the fall you can add Aaron Morris and Christian Morris to the mix but for now, the Oline is going to be thin.
Coach Freeze had quite a few notes from his recent Spring Press Conference, which included several position changes that will attempt to add some depth and give some players a better chance to get on the field.
Recently troubled Denzel Nkemdiche will set out spring practice and miss the opening game at the Georgia Dome against Boise State as punishment for off-the-field transgressions.
Being suspended for the first game is not normally a huge problem for a player but as Webb pointed out, it is especially painful for Denzel who is a Georgia native and won’t have the chance to play in front of his friends and family back home.
Other players who have had run in’s with the law this offseason, Serderius Bryant and Channing Ward are being punished internally and have a shorter road to travel to get back in the Coaches good graces.
Defensive back Bobby Hill is no longer with the team or enrolled in school.
One of the bigger position change announcements was the move of Junior defensive lineman Channing Ward to tight end. Lewis thinks this will be a spring time only move to help with run blocking and add depth to the offensive line during the spring but if he quickly adapts to the position; which he also played in high school, he may find a new home in the fall.
Webb says the QB battle looks to be an intense one for the #2 position because Bo Wallace looks better than he has ever looked. Shoulder surgery just prior to the 2013 season did not give Wallace much time to build up his strength and he was totally fatigued at the end of the year. After some rehab time, Wallace is completely rested and his passes and decisions are impressive.
Redshirt freshman QB’s Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan could not be more polar opposite players. Kincade has more athleticism but doesn’t have the mental grasp of the offense Buchanan does. Kincade is a true dual threat QB with a very accurate arm, but will take some time to develop the decision making skills he needs in game-time situations.
Buchanan is more of a true pocket passer that is great at distributing the ball but doesn’t move out of the pocket as well as Kincade or even Bo Wallace. The backup QB position won’t be settled anytime soon.
Many fans have been interested to see where JUCO transfer Jeremy Liggins will end up. Liggins who played quarterback in high school is thought to be more of a defensive lineman or tight end now at nearly 300 pounds, but for the first few days of spring camp Liggins has been exclusively at quarterback.
Based on the videos i’ve seen, he looks very capable of playing the position. Webb thinks Liggins could be very useful on short yardage plays and on the goal line.
Freshman QB Kendrick Doss may be too good of an athlete to be third string and if he does not move up the depth chart, look for him to move to the defensive side of the ball until Bo Wallace moves on.
As expected with Donte Moncrief leaving early for the NFL, freshman all-SEC Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell will move to his spot at flanker. This will allow Treadwell to stretch the field and get a chance to catch some long throws but will also possibly attract double teams in the secondary.
On the O-line, look for Austin Golson to be used at right tackle. Guard Justin Bell and tackle Robert Conyers will both get looks at center. Carlton Martin will move from defensive tackle to offensive guard and according to Webb this could be a permanent move if it works out this spring.
In the secondary, Chief Brown will move from safety to the hybrid safety/linebacker “Husky” position, while All-American Cody Prewitt will stay at safety instead of a potential move to Husky or will linebacker. USM transfer Anthony Alford is being worked in with Trae Elston at safety, and is by all accounts really taking his opportunity seriously. Alford is also being worked out on special teams as a returner.
A big running back recruit from 2013, Kailo Moore will move from halfback to corner in an attempt to get him on the field. I’m sure he will get opportunities in the return game as well.
This spring seems like there are a lot more position changes than normal but most of them will be only temporary until the fall when more players will be available.
This team has a chance to do big things in 2014 and getting as many skill players on the field as possible could provide big results later this year.
Mississippi State opens spring football practice March 18th and for the Bulldogs, the bar has been set high for the 2014 season. Coming off a fourth straight winning season and returning 17-starters, as well as having a Heisman Trophy dark horse at quarterback, many feel the Bulldogs have an outside shot to be in the hunt for the West, come November.
But, we are a long way from November and the focus now is on spring practice. This is where young guys can make a name for themselves, veterans can hone their skills and the team as a whole can continue to develop continuity.
As we approach the start of spring practice, we will look at each position unit, looking at the returners, potential break out players at that position and potential pitfalls.
Today we preview the running backs.
Josh Robinson – 5-9, 225 lbs
2013 stat line: 459- rushing yards on 78-carries – 3 rushing touchdowns (5.9 rush per carry average)
115- Receiving yards on 12 receptions
Ashton Shumpert – 6-2, 215 lbs
2013 stat line: 190- rushing yards on 46-carries – 3 rushing touchdowns (4.1 rush per carry average)
22- Receiving yards on 4 receptions
Nick Griffin – 6-1, 225 lbs
2013 stat line: 96- rushing yards on 24-carries – 1 rushing touchdowns (4.0 rush per carry average)
27-Receiving yards on 3 receptions
This week we go around the SEC, talking spring football, baseball and basketball with Scott McKinney from Southern Sports Tonight and Peter Flournoy from Dr. SEC. We also discuss the all important tailgate and bar sports with James R…afferty at Bru-Bag .com and you know we like to give Randy a hard time but he is back with more NASCAR! A fun, wild 90 minutes right here at MAKEITRAINSPORTS <– SHOW LINK –> http://t.co/CAfTAFJL3f