By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – The SEC’s leading college basketball scorer remains suspended, and while his future isn’t muddled, his availability is.
Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson averaged 20.1 points as a first-year junior college transfer last season, leading the Rebels to the school’s second SEC tournament championship and first NCAA tournament appearance in a decade.
In July the flamboyant Henderson, who last year skated the edge of what many consider acceptable behavior, was suspended for undisclosed violations.
A national report then said the suspension came as a result of a failed drug test.
Neither Henderson nor other players were available for interviews on Tuesday.
Discussing the 2013-2014 season with local media, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said the administration has played a big role in the handling of Henderson. The Rebels open the season Nov. 8 against Troy.
“There’s been a determination already by the administration that he will miss games. How many has yet to be determined, and I think it’s on-going based on how he continues to progress,” Kennedy said.
Since the suspension Henderson has been a full participant in conditioning and in practice, which began last Friday.
Be a leader
The suspension came just three months after the school published a letter on its website in which Henderson apologized for his behavior.
In that letter Henderson wrote, “I need to be a leader for my teammates both on and off the court. The spotlight on the court means my actions affect more than just me, and I need to show my teammates that I can be a leader for this team.”
The Rebels were 27-9 last season, 12-6 in the SEC, an NCAA 12 seed that defeated 5 seed Wisconsin before losing to La Salle.
Summertime requests to interview both Henderson and athletics director Ross Bjork about Henderson were denied.
Kennedy said Bjork will be involved in deciding which games and how many Henderson will miss but said his observations will carry a great deal of weight.
“Ross has been terrific in leadership in this area,” Kennedy said. “When we get to the appropriate team, he and I will have a pretty frank conversation. Obviously he’s not dealing with Marshall on a day to day basis. That’s us.”