Marshall Henderson's Updated Suspension Announced by Ole Miss
Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson's "indefinite" suspension has finally been clarified, as the school announced Tuesday that he will miss four different games spread out across the 2013-14 season.
The announcement says Henderson will miss an exhibition game against South Carolina-Aiken on Nov. 1, the Rebels' regular-season opener against Troy and their first two games of SEC play against Auburn on Jan. 9 and at Mississippi State on Jan. 11., per Parrish Alford of Inside Ole Miss Sports.
Henderson was first suspended in July due to an unspecified violation of team rules. It was later reported that the suspension stemmed from a failed drug test, and Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal highlighted an incident where police found small amounts of marijuana and cocaine in Henderson's car this past May.
Henderson has had problems with drugs—specifically marijuana—dating back to high school. He spent 25 days in jail in 2012 after testing positive for marijuana, cocaine and alcohol, which was a violation of his parole stemming from a forgery charge.
While the school never confirmed Henderson's suspension was due to a drug test, the controversial guard recently spoke of his off-court demons in an interview with ESPN's Andy Katz:
Like I've said, when basketball is not there, it's always been a bad time for me. I still wonder how things just got out of control. I was thinking I was above everything, which is crazy because I've never thought that way before. I'm like, "Well, I'm not a professional, so I don't get paid, so why is partying when the season is over frowned upon? Why do I have to be held to a higher standard? These people I'm with -- future doctors, lawyers, businessmen -- they don't have to take a drug test. Why do I?" I just kind of created this unrealistic stuff in my head.
With his suspension clarified, Henderson seemed grateful to be given another chance.
“I want to thank Coach Kennedy, Ross Bjork and the university for giving me an opportunity to rejoin the team," Henderson said, per Alford. "This has been a difficult time for me, and I appreciate this chance. My teammates and I are looking forward to defending our SEC Championship.”
Head coach Andy Kennedy, whose faith in Henderson helped push the Rebels to an unexpected return to national prominence, looked forward to getting this situation behind his team.
"I support this decision, and I am thankful to our leadership for allowing Marshall the opportunity to earn the right to rejoin our team," Kennedy said. "Marshall has been compliant with the process put in place for him since his suspension in early July, and we look forward to him being back on our team."
In his first season at Ole Miss, Henderson flourished with the freedom provided by Kennedy's uptempo system. He led the SEC with 20.1 points per game and helped push Ole Miss to its second conference championship in school history and first NCAA tournament appearance in more than a decade.
But Henderson's excellent season was not without controversy. He shot only 38.1 percent from the floor, often taking ill-advised shots and playing a one-on-one style that hampered the Rebels' offensive rhythm. He also rankled fans and players from other SEC teams with brash displays of confidence and petulance, most notably flipping off the crowd as Ole Miss was eliminated from the Big Dance.
With Henderson back in the fold, the Rebels should again be competitive in the conference. Florida and Kentucky are the only two SEC schools in USA Today's preseason Top 25. Henderson's relatively short suspension could help boost Ole Miss' profile, as voters were unsure about his status in their initial preseason poll.
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