An important chapter closed in the Marshall Henderson drama Tuesday when Ole Miss announced the punishment for the most visible face in its athletics program since Eli Manning.
The Henderson drama isn’t finished, and it won’t be until his time at Ole Miss is complete, because you never know what’s around the corner with the reigning SEC scoring champ.
There are those who believe that missing three regular season games – Troy, Auburn and at Mississippi State – is not punishment enough.
The school says this punishment is for “total conduct during the 2012-2013 season, SEC and NCAA tournaments and his behavior since the end of the season.”
It might have been easier to say the time during which Marshall Henderson was breathing.
Right now there is no arrest record for his time as an Ole Miss athlete, and athletics director Ross Bjork did a good job – and it was clearly Bjork’s decision – in administering the games missed.
If you stretch the decision to five games, eight or more you might as well just cut Henderson loose. He’s not helping the team if he’s not playing in crucial games, and the program isn’t helping him if he’s not a team member in good standing.
Henderson needs Ole Miss more than Ole Miss needs Henderson right now, and it’s no small amount of need from the Rebels’ perspective.
They need him to knock down big 3-point shots, although they need greater efficiently and more judicious shot selection than Henderson showed a year ago.
They need him to exploit defenses who overprotect on the perimeter by driving and creating for teammates.
Henderson, though, needs Ole Miss for its structure. He needs to embrace the personal discipline that goes along with team sports.
There’s not much to suggest that Henderson has embraced that discipline to this point, and the clock is running down on his time as a college basketball player.
Maybe he will realize his dream as an NBA player, maybe not. Maybe his status as a former Ole Miss athlete one day helps open a door somewhere.
Wherever he goes from here there will be less tolerance for erratic, me-centric behavior and more responsibility for his own messes. That’s the way the world rolls.
Running off Henderson from the program would have only served the third parties who wanted to point fingers in their disgust for his questionable behavior. It would have made it more difficult for Henderson to change that behavior.
He has a great chance to change that behavior now. Whether he deserves the chance can be debated, but he has it, and maybe he’ll take advantage of it.
His window of time is closing.
Parrish Alford (parrish.alford@ journalinc.com) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at InsideOleMissSports.com.