Marshall Henderson: College Basketball’s Sharknado

Marshall Henderson

I was a little late to the Sharknado party. I didn't realize how much attention the Syfy channel movie was getting until it premiered July 11th. I haven't seen it, and don't plan on ever watching it, so everything I know about it is based on what I've read.

Still, a light went off in my head when I read a description of the movie: "A monstrous storm devastates Los Angeles, leaving the streets flooded and infested with sharks."

A violent tornado filled with sharks that leaves a path of destruction in its wake? Is the physical manifestation of this environmental disaster not Marshall Henderson?

He has a history of legal problems, his path has led him to leave multiple schools, and his go-to celebration after a big basket is the land shark! If you think the announcement of his indefinite suspension from Ole Miss and the premiere of Sharknado being less than 36 hours apart is a mere coincidence, you are sorely mistaken.

The Marshall Henderson storm first touched down on the college basketball world in 2009, when he began his freshman year at the University of Utah. He entered college with a criminal record, having been caught purchasing marijuana with counterfeit money on two separate occasions (so to be clear, he not only purchased illegal drugs, but did so with fake cash).

He only lasted a year in Salt Lake City, transferring to Texas Tech because Jim Boylen, Utah's coach at the time, placed restrictions on players that limited Henderson's "individualism."

Lubbock turned out to be just a pit stop, though. Henderson never played for the Red Raiders, sitting out the 2010-11 season and then leaving when coach Pat Knight was fired. This was a more understandable move than the one from Utah, but another transfer nonetheless.

He ended up in the NJCAA, playing for South Plains Junior College in Texas. After a season there, Henderson made his way back to the NCAA at Ole Miss. However, before going to his fourth school in four years, he spent 25 days in jail for failing to complete court-ordered community service hours.

This, of course, all came before the suspension, which is reportedly tied to multiple failed drug tests. But while Marshall Henderson the person suffered these low points off the court, he has provided some great moments on it (you know, kind of like how it's beautiful that Mother Nature can create a tornado filled with sharks, if you ignore the devastation it creates).

He was the Utes' second-leading scorer his freshman season, averaging 11.8 points in 27.4 minutes per game and shooting 33.5 percent from behind the three-point line. At South Plains, he led the Texans to the NJCAA national title and was named NJCAA player of the year. This past season at Ole Miss, he led the Rebels to an SEC Tournament title while also leading the conference in scoring (20.1 PPG). For his efforts he was honored as Newcomer of the Year in the conference, as well as being named second team all-SEC.

But "bad" Marshall reared his ugly head on the court as well, in ways that would've made him disliked even if he were a model citizen. At Utah he was ejected for throwing an elbow at BYU's Jackson Emery. Things got really heated at Ole Miss. He began acting out towards opposing fans, most notably at Auburn, where he clinched the game with a pair of free throws and then popped his jersey repeatedly in front of some angry Tigers fans.

After receiving the middle finger in that instance from fans, Henderson returned the favor at the end of the season, giving the NCAA Tournament crowd in Kansas City the middle finger on his way out after Ole Miss' loss to La Salle in the round of 32.

Back in March, Henderson said he embraces his role as a villain. That mostly stems from him being overly emotional on the court. What's next for the SEC's enemy No. 1? Doug Gottlieb doesn't think this means the end of Henderson's basketball career. In fact he believes he'll probably suit up again for the Rebels:

Marshall Henderson suspended "indefinitely" and by that Ole Miss means, until we play our first game #LandShark -Least.Surprising.Story.Ever

— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) July 10, 2013

Either way, his recklessness off the court has cost him. Marshall Henderson said he liked being the villain; now he has truly earned that title.

By: Joe Diglio
Twitter: @Joe_Diglio

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