The outspoken Henderson has gone silent. And Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy would prefer it stay that way.
“I’m preparing every day as if he’s not out there,” Kennedy said.
But with each passing day, with Henderson adhering to the guidelines set forth by Kennedy and the Ole Miss administration, a return to the court appears inevitable.
“I hate to say this because I’m a parent and I feel like I’m a parent to these 13 guys and as soon as I start bragging about something he may take a step backwards,” Kennedy said. “But he’s been 100 percent compliant as it relates to the things that have been put in place. He’s our only senior, and we’ve talked about this many times in this room that you want to see a senior sense of urgency out of guys that are going through this for the last time.
“You can talk about it and until a kid is in that seat it’s difficult for him to comprehend it’s coming to an end. I see a senior sense of urgency out of Marshall; I see a sense of urgency as it relates to the position he puts himself in. He’s completely aware of the predicament he’s created for us, but he’s owned it and he’s given us leadership both emotionally and physically.”
Henderson was suspended July 10 for a violation of team rules. This after the rising senior led the Southeastern Conference in scoring and the Rebels to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2002. On the way, Ole Miss won its first SEC basketball tournament championship since 1981.
Henderson was a full participant when Ole Miss opened practices for the fall season on Friday, as he was on Monday, when Kennedy held a press conference with local media to preview the 2013-14 year.
He will miss games. How many games, however, is yet to be determined.
“When he was suspended, there was a process put in place of which he had to conform in order to be where he is today,” Kennedy said. “There were things he had to meet. He met those. How he continues along this progression will determine what happens next.
“There’s been a determination by administration already that he will miss games. How many he will miss is yet to be determined. I think it’s ongoing based on how he continues to progress.”
Henderson averaged 20.1 points as a junior, en route to being named SEC tournament MVP. set the NCAA single-season record for 3-point attempts (394), as well as the SEC mark for 3s made in a season with 141.
But he was known as much for his flamboyant on-the-court behavior as his prolific scoring ability. His suspension stemmed from a failed drug test, as has been widely reported.
“As typical with Marshall, things get sensationalized,” Kennedy said. “There had been a lot of different speculation. Based on his rights and based on respect for those rights, we can’t delve into everything.
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“Here’s a kid that hasn’t been arrested - knock on wood. He’s owned his mistakes. He was suspended for an internal matter. We didn’t have to invoke authorities outside our roof. We’ll deal with it internally.”
Ole Miss opens its season Nov. 8 against Troy.
“Marshall’s play has not changed. He’s the same guy from an energy standpoint, from an emotion standpoint. He’s always going to be the way that he is as it relates to passionate and engaged and playing on that edge from a position standpoint,” Kennedy said.
“What I’ve been most proud of is he’s winning the sprints at the end. He’s encouraging the young guys when they make mistakes. He’s trying to help a guy like Jerron Martin, who’s a freshman in our program. Every day is the hardest day he’s every gone through. He’s encouraging him. We had an unfortunate situation with Derrick Millinghaus. He lost a family member, so he had to miss the first couple of days of practice. He’s already behind a little bit. Marshall’s working with Derrick to bring him back up to speed. Those are the areas I see a marked improvement.”