Marshall Henderson is a shameless, score-first gunner, but I'm pretty sure not even he envisioned himself making a basket the way he did in Ole Miss' 72-63 victory over Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Dec. 14.
After taking a pass at the top of the key late in the first half, Henderson fired a quick, two-handed pocket pass into the key, which then caromed off two players. In a strange twist of fate, the second deflection sent the ball sailing straight through the net for a basket for Ole Miss.
It was the type of scene ridiculous enough that, if it were a video game, no one could have blamed you for shutting off the console, taking the game out and returning it to the store.
While it seemed like the bucket would be awarded to Henderson, the controversial guard's latest ingenious act on the basketball floor instead went to a teammate. CBS Sports' Matt Norlander doesn't think we'll see anything else like it all season:
And from last night, this Marshall Henderson shot is the most unlikely way to 2 points we’ll see all year http://t.co/VDAmxmceSa— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) December 15, 2013
The box score awarded teammate Sebastian Saiz with a "layup" and awarded Henderson with an assist. The dime was one of a season-high five for Henderson, who took an uncharacteristically low 11 shots. He finished with 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting, which included two critical three-pointers to stave off a Middle Tennessee comeback attempt.
Of course, perhaps Henderson's serendipitous "assist" was just a sign from the basketball gods that he should pass more.
The Rebels star headed into their matchup against Middle Tennessee coming off a game in which he attempted 23 three-pointers in a 115-105 overtime loss to Oregon. With Henderson cutting that rate by more than half against the Blue Raiders—he took "only" nine threes—head coach Andy Kennedy seemed impressed with what he could do as a passer.
“Marshall (Henderson) was giving a lot of those passes off our baseline screening," Kennedy said, via an Ole Miss press release. "If we can complete some of those the bigs who are over-helping on Marshall will be more hesitant to come out. If we can make some of those layups, it opens up the floor for our team.”
The victory brought Ole Miss to 7-2 on the season, with the Rebels' only two losses coming in Henderson's most high-volume contests. After off-the-court issues again cropped up for Henderson this spring, his minutes and numbers are down across the board from his breakout junior campaign. That's part of a concerted effort to make the Rebels feel more like a team, as Henderson oftentimes took it upon himself to shoot the club in or out of a game.
Henderson seems to have bought in—even if he can't totally eliminate his gunner ways. But after the success of his crazy pass on Saturday, don't be surprised if Henderson starts throwing balls off defenders three and four at a time.
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