By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Marshall Henderson’s quest for a leadership role on the Ole Miss basketball team has taken a detour.
The school announced Wednesday afternoon that it has suspended Henderson indefinitely from all team-related activities for unspecified violation of team rules.
Team activities in the summer include mostly strength and conditioning with some limited supervised workouts.
CBSSports.com columnist Gary Parrish cited sources saying the suspension is related to a failed drug test and that there are legitimate questions as to Henderson’s future at Ole Miss.
As a first-year junior college transfer the flamboyant Henderson led the SEC in scoring at 20.1 points a game. He helped the Rebels tie a school record with 27 wins, earn the SEC tournament championship and knock off No. 5 seed Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament.
While his 3-point shooting was a piece missing from the Rebels the previous season, his antics along the way earned him a reputation as the bad boy of the SEC.
“Since the season ended, we have talked a lot about Marshall taking a greater leadership role with our team. With that comes greater responsibility, and he must do a better job of living up to the high standard we expect from him and he desires from himself,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said in the release.
The news release was emailed roughly 21⁄2 hours after Henderson wrote on Twitter: “This will be an interesting #whitegirlwednesday,” repeating a hashtag that has become associated with him on the social media network.
It’s not Henderson’s first brush with bad news at a time that is typically slow for basketball players.
Just two weeks ago he received a verbal reprimand from the NCAA for his actions following the Rebels’ third-round NCAA tournament loss to La Salle in which Henderson was caught on video flashing an inappropriate gesture while leaving the court.
In April, Ole Miss published on its website an apology for that action and others attributed to Henderson.
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.”
Requests to interview Henderson were denied earlier this summer.
Kennedy, though, was upbeat about Henderson’s off-season behavioral progress.
“He’s always been a worker. We came in for the off-season, and he’s gotten stronger and worked on the areas of the game he needs to improve,” Kennedy said in June. “He’s been very consistent in doing the things you want your senior to do.”