Marshall Henderson Suspended Indefinitely By Ole Miss For Violating Team Rules

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2013

Marshall Henderson's latest run-in with off-the-court trouble may cost him his senior season.

According to Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Ole Miss has suspended the controversial guard indefinitely for a violation of team rules:

UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 3:40 p.m. ET:

From Kevin Brockway of The Gainesville Sun:

 ---End of Update---

UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 2:35 p.m. ET:

According to CBS Sports' Gary Parrish, Henderson will open practice with the team, although he's still suspended for an undetermined number of games this season:

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy told on Tuesday that Marshall Henderson will open practice with the Rebels on Friday, meaning the all-league guard's suspension is essentially over. That said, Henderson is still expected to miss games this season as punishment for his offseason behavior that sources told included multiple failed drug tests.

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UPDATE: Friday, July 12, at 7:41 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

USA Today reporter Scott Gleeson divulged details about some of Henderson's preview troubles:

Ole Miss basketball player Marshall Henderson had two previous run-ins with police in Oxford, Miss., in the weeks before he was stopped for speeding and found in possession of marijuana and cocaine, according to police reports obtained by USA TODAY Sports on Friday.

In one instance, an officer stopped Henderson on April 27 for playing loud music and not wearing a seat belt, and the officer threatened to take him to jail when Henderson turned his music up just as loud as he pulled away after receiving the citations.

Another incident that drew police attention was a party that took place early on the morning of April 4, just two days before the Final Four was played in Atlanta. Oxford police officer Cody Pruitt said he received a noise complaint and knocked on an apartment door to which Henderson opened and identified himself. After Henderson obliged to turn down the "loud music," the officer left, according to a police report.

Three weeks later, Oxford police officer Jacob Abel stopped Henderson for playing loud music and not wearing his seat belt. Henderson was issued citations for a noise violation and failure to have proof of liability insurance.

---End of update--- 


UPDATE: Thursday, July 11, at 7:20 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Wall Street Journal reporter Rachel Bachman provides specifics on Henderson's off-court issues:

Henderson was pulled over May 4 on suspicion of speeding, and Oxford Police officer Shane Fortner smelled marijuana in Henderson's vehicle, according to the police report. Henderson gave Fortner a bag containing "a small nugget of marijuana," according to Fortner's report, and a search by a police dog turned up a clear plastic bag that contained "a small amount of what appeared to be cocaine," a report from another officer, Mark Hodges, said.

Hodges's report notes that the district attorney wouldn't prosecute if the bag contained less than one-tenth of a gram of cocaine.

Henderson was cited for no proof of liability insurance and given a court date of May 15, Fortner's report said. It wasn't immediately clear how the citation was adjudicated. No other charges were filed against Henderson.

---End of update---


UPDATE: Thursday, July 11, at 2:23 p.m. ET

Marshall confirms that he's spoken with ex-NBA player Chris Herren, who currently serves as a mentor after struggling with addiction:

Scott Gleeson of USA Today transcribed these quotes from Herren, who provided his take on Henderson:

"You can never minimize the fact that you're jeopardizing your future," Herren said. "It's tragic for me to see his situation knowing what I know, what I went through, what I did.

"Ultimately, he needs to get down to the reason why a substance is more important than yourself, your family and your future," said Herren. "Whether it's basketball, football, baseball or any sport at a high level, the price to pay is a lot of pressure. That's why he needs to incorporate some balance in his life and surround himself with people who have the same dream he does."

---End of Update---


Original Text

There has been no official word as to why Henderson was suspended. CBS Sports' Gary Parrish is reporting that a source close to the situation has said the banishment is drug-related:

Parrish also adds that this most recent situation is a legitimate cause for concern regarding his future at Ole Miss:

Ole Miss has not confirmed or denied that report. Head coach Andy Kennedy released a statement on the matter, however, calling for Henderson to show greater responsibility, per Kellenberger:

Since the season ended, we have talked a lot about Marshall taking a greater leadership role with our team. With that comes greater responsibility, and he must do a better job of living up to the high standard we expect from him and he desires from himself.

Henderson himself has not spoken on the matter. He was active this afternoon on his Twitter feed—perhaps ominously so—and seemed in jovial spirits, getting ready for "#WhiteGirlWednesday":

However, he did appear in a video on Denzel Nkemidche's Instagram account, in which he said he was sad about the events of the day. The video was removed within hours of the posting with Nkemidche saying his account was "hacked."

Known for his flamboyant (and somewhat reckless) style of play, Henderson quickly became a fan favorite during his first year at Ole Miss. The shoot-first guard led the SEC in scoring (14th in the nation) at 20.1 points per game on 38.1 percent from the floor, oftentimes shooting the Rebels in and out of games on the same night. 

It was Henderson's magical run through the SEC tournament—where he scored 23.7 points per contest—that helped push Ole Miss to its second conference championship in school history. The Rebels were later eliminated in the Round of 32 by 13th-seeded La Salle, but Henderson's effect on the program was palpable. Its NCAA tournament appearance was the first in over a decade, and Henderson's presence sparked interest in basketball at Ole Miss—usually a football-centric university. 

However, Henderson is no stranger to controversy. Before coming to Ole Miss, he bounced around to three different universities, beginning at Utah before transferring to Texas Tech and then South Plains College, a junior college in Texas.    

During his freshman season with the Utes, Henderson was suspended for a game after punching BYU's Jackson Emery. He's also become something of a villain in the SEC, taunting opposing fans and flipping off the crowd after Ole Miss was eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

Henderson also has a history of legal trouble dating back to his high school days. As a senior, he and an associate purchased 57 grams of marijuana using $800 worth of counterfeit money. He was later charged with forgery after being approached by federal agents, which he pleaded down to a misdemeanor in order to get probation.

The 22-year-old Henderson later violated the terms of his probation in 2012, testing positive for alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. He served 25 days in jail for the violation. 

It is unclear when Henderson tested positive for a banned drug. He is off probation for his legal troubles, so it was likely an NCAA- or school-administered test. 

Neither Ole Miss nor Kennedy has been clear about whether Henderson's banishment is permanent or if he'll be welcome to return to the team. The 2013-14 season is his final year of collegiate eligibility.


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