You probably either love Marshall Henderson or you hate him. Love him because he's not afraid to shoot, not afraid to be heard, not afraid to just be Marshall. Hate him because he shoots too much, talks too much, is just too Marshall.
Henderson made himself a story with his shooting and his antics last year, and he'll make himself a story next year too. He's not going to change. And you're probably not going to change how you feel about him.
You know how they say if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all? Well, you could take that same approach with Henderson. If you don't like his act, then don't watch him at all.
But it's hard to look away. I realize that.
On the court, Henderson took more threes in one season last year than anyone in the history of college basketball. Take your eyes off him, and you'll probably miss three or four shots. Off the court, he parties and tells us about it. And he tweets almost as often as he shoots.
We last saw Henderson giving Kansas City the two-fingered salute when Ole Miss lost to La Salle in the NCAA tournament.
That was poor taste. That was justification for the haters to hate.
The last time we heard from Henderson—unless you follow him on Twitter, in which case you hear from him all the time—he was offering up an explanation and apology to the Ole Miss faithful for his actions.
I play the game with a lot of passion, and sometimes that passion boils over. I take responsibility for my actions this season and apologize to anyone I offended. However, my edge on the court has made me the player that I am. I can’t change that, but I do understand that I can take things too far.
I have come to understand this year that I represent this team and this university, and I have to hold myself to a higher standard than people in the stands, because I am a student-athlete at Ole Miss.
Was that Henderson's idea to write that letter? Who knows? But it was well put. It sounded well-intentioned.
And it didn't take long for Henderson to go against the whole "holding himself to a higher standard" part.
On May 28, Henderson tweeted this:
where is amanda bynes?!? i need to holla at her, help her get her shiz together hehe— marshall henderson (@NativeFlash22) May 28, 2013
What's wrong with that tweet? Absolutely nothing. To me, it reads as a joke. It reads as something we should not pay any attention to, as does most of Henderson's Twitter account.
But some just can't look away. And because of Henderson's past, anything he says is a story. Anything said about him is going to get read.
This didn't deserve the ink, but USA Today's Nate Scott disagreed, and his response to Henderson's tweet was essentially this: "Why don't you do some real good, Marshall?"
Henderson should have just let it be. But Marshall is gonna be Marshall. And he told USA Today that they could...well, you can just see the tweet (which he eventually deleted) at the bottom of the paper's story.
Henderson also tweeted this:
and i bet ive done more community service voluntarily than any other "star athlete" ... dont talk when you dont know— marshall henderson (@NativeFlash22) May 29, 2013
The Henderson defendants will point to that. There's some good to Marshall. They'll also point to the results on the court last season—a 27-9 record and the first tourney appearance for Ole Miss since 2002.
Henderson helped make that happen. He makes big shots. He's a distraction for the other team's defense—they also can't look away.
But Henderson wasn't the best player for Ole Miss; Murphy Holloway was. Reginald Buckner also played a big role in the Rebels' success. Buckner and Holloway both graduated.
The Rebels will still be relevant next season. Henderson will always make them relevant. But if they struggle, and they could without Holloway and Buckner, they will be in the news more for Henderson's antics (on and off the court) than his scoring.
Because Henderson doesn't handle losing well—see his two-fingered salute above—and he doesn't handle criticism well—see his response to the USA Today.
It would be great to see Henderson evolve. To see Henderson, to use his words, "hold myself to a higher standard than people in the stands."
But that's not Marshall. And for those who love him, that's not what they want to see. And for those who hate them, that's now what they want to see.
Everyone wants a reason to not look away, and Henderson can't help himself but to abide.