By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, while recruiting Marshall Henderson, told him that together they could reach the NCAA tournament.
Indeed, the 3-point shot was the missing weapon when Kennedy and the Rebels made a run to the bubble in 2012.
Last year – the first without former sharpshooter Chris Warren – the Rebels attempted 471 3-point shots, hitting 31.6 percent.
This year Henderson would have had 400 attempts himself if the Rebels had defeated La Salle on Sunday and played one more game – an NCAA Sweet 16 game.
Henderson took 394 3-point shots and hit 35 percent.
While not always efficient – he was 4-for-19 from 3 against La Salle – Henderson often found success in volume shooting.
“The offense is basically Marshall Henderson. If he’s not able to make shots – and make hard shots – obviously we’re not going to win,” said sophomore guard LaDarius White, who shot a slightly better percentage than Henderson this season – 35.1 percent – on 77 attempts.
Senior Nick Williams had the second-most attempts at 97, but his percentage was 27.8. Williams also played most of the season with some degree of pain with a foot injury.
“People get too comfortable with him taking 3-point shots. Teams know he’s a 3-point threat, and they’re going to do whatever it takes for him not to shoot 3s. If he makes them, cool, if he don’t, it’s putting Ole Miss in a bind,” White said.
Jarvis Summers shot 43.6 percent on 78 attempts as a freshman, 34 attempts on 47 attempts this season.
Summers missed a wide-open look in the final minute Sunday night that could have changed the tone of the game down the stretch.
Kennedy occasionally this season ran perimeter plays for others, trying to cash in on the attention created by Henderson. He liked his chances with Summers taking that shot.
“Jarvis had about as clean a look as you could ask in college basketball. I’d take it again right now,” Kennedy said. “If you said, ‘Hey I’m going to give you Jarvis with that shot again to go to the Sweet 16, would you take it?’ Absolutely. He just missed it.”
The Rebels end the season at 27-9, tying school record for wins and getting the NCAA tournament monkey off their backs.
Henderson believes he left shots on the table this season and won’t go around looking for help in 2013-14.
“I felt like I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I should have at times this year. I need to work on my consistency,” he said. “Going into my senior year I know a lot of seniors always have that senior work ethic in the off-season. In that regard, I’m looking forward to the off-season.”