Unfortunately, the star guard didn’t quite live up to the hype he created around himself.
While the 12-seeded Rebels did manage to knock off No. 5 Wisconsin in the round of 64, the team fell short against No. 13 La Salle in the third round. Had Henderson been more selective with his shots and done more to help his teammates, we’d likely be talking about Ole Miss’ chances in the Sweet 16 against Wichita State.
Instead, the junior will be watching the rest of the Big Dance from home and now has a dilemma on his hands about whether or not to declare for the 2013 NBA draft this coming June.
In the Rebels’ two contests, Henderson played 70 minutes and knocked down just 14 of his 42 shot attempts (7-of-27 on three-pointers) for 40 points. He also only dished a mere four assists and grabbed seven total rebounds during the tourney.
While those numbers are close to his 2012-13 season averages (20.1 points, 38.1 FG percentage, 35.0 3PT percentage, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists), they aren’t the figures of a first-round shooting guard prospect in a draft deep at the position.
Had Henderson stepped up and played more like Jimmer Fredette or Steph Curry, two players he identified as having “got their money” during recent NCAA tournament appearances, he would have likely been a candidate for a top-30 selection.
However, the shoot-first guard played selfishly to a fault and even flipped off the crowd at the end of Ole Miss’ loss to the Explorers on Sunday. That is not the 6’2” SG’s only character concern.
According to Nicole Auerbach of USA Today, the 22-year-old tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and alcohol in January of 2012 and spent 25 days in jail in the spring of 2012 for violating probation as a result of counterfeiting money.
Those are major red flags for scouts and general managers who should already be on the fence about Henderson due to his small stature, age and me-first style of play.
We expect the Rebels star will wind up becoming a second-round pick if he declares, but he would be much better served returning to Oxford for his senior season.
If Henderson does so, he could improve on his facilitating ability and shot selection, while getting another chance to make a run during March Madness and improve his draft position in 2014.