PARRISH ALFORD: Henderson’s future more important than his past

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – More of Marshall Henderson’s past came to light this week.USA Today obtained court documents to find why it was ruled that Henderson – a junior college transfer Ole Miss guard who happens to be the SEC’s leading scorer – violated his probation. The probation came after a 2010 charge of forgery.
USA Today’s story cited Tarrant County, Texas, documents showing that Henderson tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and alcohol in January of 2012.
Ole Miss has given plenty of athletes second chances through the years in its high-profile sports. Football coach Hugh Freeze is experimenting with former Southern Miss quarterback Anthony Alford and extending a second chance right now. Jeff Roper 1/31/13 Sometimes they work out for both parties.
Second chances extended by Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy to Jelan Kendrick last year and Jason Carter this year did not work.
So far, it’s working with Henderson. For the most part, Henderson’s enthusiasm and non-traditional personality have been channeled toward his team and his fans. The video of his jersey-pumping in front of the Auburn students made the internet rounds, and prompted Kennedy to investigate.
I wrote last week that Henderson is walking a line of acceptable and unacceptable behavior – and that I did not feel he had yet crossed that line.
Auburn didn’t change my opinion, nor did USA Today’s report.
What I think really doesn’t matter to Marshall Henderson. He’s made that abundantly clear that he really doesn’t care what people think.
But he needs to care, if only a little.
With Marshall’s turbulent legal past and the fact he could be engaged in his last chance at major college basketball, Ole Miss fans need to be able to trust Henderson.
They need to believe that when opposing fans taunt Henderson and he responds – and now those fans have new material – that he can always maintain his composure and not cross the line. Internet photos of Henderson with a drink, a female friend and tongue extended don’t help that trust.
Right now, Henderson is part of the show, as his teammate Murphy Holloway points out. If he crosses the line he becomes more than a distraction. He hurts his team. If he’s suspended and misses games, it’s a totally different Ole Miss team.
Hopefully for the Rebels, Marshall can continue to be the player and teammate he needs to be.
Parrish Alford (parrish.alford @journalinc.com) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at InsideOleMiss Sports.com.