Henderson’s personality

Saturday is turning to Sunday, and I left the media room at Auburn Arena not long ago where the big discussion was whether Marshall Henderson made an unsportsmanlike gesture toward the Auburn students at the end of the game.

No one could confirm that.

To be honest, this is an adventure with Henderson each game, particularly on the road.

It will take a second person whose assignment is only to watch Henderson to accurately report on how Henderson interacts with opposing fans after games.

On this particular night I was working my way down from the second level media seating to get back to the locker room where we met with Andy Kennedy, LaDarius White and Henderson.

Watching Henderson this season it has seemed to me – most of the time – that his personality has been channeled to himself, his teammates, his fans.

We’ve known from the beginning that Henderson would be a magnet for the opposing fans’ taunts when he was on the road.

His success and the Rebels’ success will only fuel opposing fans.

Given Henderson’s personality, his stated enjoyment of trash talking, you can expect him to engage fans who engage him throughout a game.

You can debate whether that’s good or bad, whether Henderson has crossed a line.

The “line” is the gray part here. That’s a different definition for different people. In this case, the only definition that matters is Andy Kennedy’s.

If Kennedy felt a line was crossed tonight, it won’t be noted with public comments or a news release but perhaps with the subtleties of how Henderson engages fans moving forward.

Kennedy has acted before when his behavior line has been crossed, Dundrecous Nelson and Jelan Kendrick were examples just last year.

Henderson is not a cookie cutter type of college athlete. He says what he’s thinking. That’s why the media room at Ole Miss after the Tennessee game was stunned and broke out in smirks when he said last Thursday that Ole Miss would beat the Vols 10 out of 10 times. It’s not that you think it couldn’t happen. It’s that no one says it quite like that.

Henderson’s antics will usually be less a story line at home, because most of the fans are cheering for him not against him.

I get the feeling that he’s a good teammate. His comments about his teammates are supportive and encouraging.

The problem with his personality right now is that you have to follow up on accusations like that, and they’re taking away from the news about a team that made history by starting 6-0 in the SEC for the first time.

It’s a team that has found ways to win even when not playing its best. Tonight it was a team that found a new go-to guy – LaDarius White – when Auburn gave him room to move while focusing on Henderson, Murphy Holloway and Jarvis Summers.

It’s a team to which Marshall Henderson has made an incredible impact. This team needs Henderson.

You just wonder if he can properly channel his personality for six more SEC road games.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Basketball
  • Keith Davis

    I like him! His energy and passion are contagious to the rest of the team. Engaging with the Auburn fans was probably not a good idea but he was probably hearing from them the whole game. I think he’s a BB version of Jihn Fourcade.

  • UMBBFan

    So the story here is that MH may have made an unsportsmanlike gesture to the fans who were taunting him all night? He makes lots of gestures. All the gestures that I have ever seen him make are supportive of his team and prideful for Ole Miss. There is always a line that should not be crossed by all if us at all times, so that is no story. The story here is that this excitable energetic young man is dragging a sometimes lethargic group of BB players to success we have never known in this sport. I say go to the line Marshall, stick your finger over the line. Just keep pulling your team along with you. That is the news here, not that you are a college student still learning his way. Hotty totty!! Bring it on Big Blue.

  • UMBBFan

    Come on PA, do you really think this is anything like Dundrecous or Jalen? Really? You are suggesting that he should be punished for behavior NOT detrimental to the team. I don’t think so. The amazing thing is how nobody read or posted anything about basketball one month ago and now there are as many posts as a recruiting article. Even the fans are catching his energy.

  • 6571duff

    Don’t worry, he will get suspended and/or get knocked into next month by someone with a real attitude. He is a good scorer with a huge ego. I think I saw him on an episode of Buck Wild.

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