By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – It isn’t often that coaches demand leadership of players brand new to their system, players who have spent just half a season in the program.
However, Marshall Henderson isn’t the typical newcomer.
Henderson reminded Ole Miss fans of that fact when he hit from way beyond the 3-point line at the buzzer Tuesday night, tying the game at 78, forcing overtime and giving the Rebels the opportunity to outscore Vanderbilt 11-1 in the extra period.
It all added up to an 89-79 Ole Miss win, a rare Rebels success at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym.
After the game, Kennedy emphasized the positives about his team.
“We’ve got two fifth-year seniors. We’ve got another guy that’s started for us for three years. I’ve got an old sophomore point guard based on the minutes he’s garners. I’ve got an old newcomer in Marshall Henderson. I was telling Marshall, ‘I need more leadership out of you, because you’ve been in these venues before, even though you’re new to our program,’” Kennedy said.
Henderson spent a year at Utah, where he averaged almost 12 points a game as a freshman. He actually led the Utes in scoring in conference play with 13.6 points a game.
He transferred closer to home to Texas Tech, sitting out the 2010-2011 season, but left there amid a coaching change and played last season as a sophomore at South Plains Community College.
It’s the Utah experience that Kennedy says Marshall can draw upon to be “different.”
But Henderson was the follower, not the leader, before taking the pass to hit the shot at the end of regulation.
Vanderbilt’s Kevin Bright had just a contested 3-pointer – the Commodores’ 17th of the game – to take a three-point lead with 3.2 seconds left.
That’s when Jarvis Summers took control of the situation.
“I was like, ‘Jarvis, throw it into me,’ and he was like, ‘no, no no … go.’ We kind of argued for a split second over who was about to get the ball. I was like, ‘Alright. Trust Jarvis. You always trust Jarvis,’” Henderson said. “He dribbled a little bit, and my guy for some reason decided to go double Jarvis. I looked, and I was like, ‘There’s no one in front of me.’ Jarvis threw it right to me, and it was just catch and shoot.”
Time, place and circumstance will make the shot one of the most remembered in school history.
It will certainly be remembered by opponents as the prepare for the Rebels (14-2, 3-0 SEC) for the remainder of this season.
Henderson went into the Vanderbilt game as the SEC’s leading scorer with 18.6 points a game. After putting up 26 points against the Commodores he’s now scored at least 25 points on two of the first three SEC teams he’s faced.
How much leadership he displays remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt he’ll display his game with flamboyance that will make him a fans’ target on the SEC road. It’s already happened.
Henderson, though, is very comfortable in his own skin.
He recalls his first season of AAU ball on a team with trash talkers when he decided he liked that style.
“Now I’m smarter with it. I have to do something different,” says Henderson, listed at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds. “I don’t want to be just another guy on the team who can shoot 3s or score the ball. I’ve got to be different, so I can get to the next level and get that money and not have to have a job for the rest of my life.”