Marshall Henderson‘s status as a “phenomenon,” as coach Andy Kennedy described it, came out of nowhere last winter. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, Henderson’s troubled history with the law is a bit more familiar.
The senior and reigning SEC tournament MVP had three run-ins with police over the summer, including one where he was found with possession of cocaine. The repetitive mistakes led to his indefinite suspension from the team on July 10. Henderson has previously served jail time in connection to drug abuse.
Part of the suspension meant Henderson could not partake in any team practices this offseason or use the team’s facilities, such as the weight room.
In a phone interview with USA Today on Thursday, Kennedy announced that Henderson has officially rejoined the team but added that the senior is not yet eligible to play in games.
“When he was suspended in early July, he was told by [school officials] that in order to put an Ole Miss basketball jersey back on, he had to earn it,” Kennedy said. “That meant he had no access to our practice facilities. From July to the end of August, he proved he had taken those steps in the process, so he earned the right to be back on the team. Since we started school at the end of August, he’s been conditioning with the team and he’ll be at our [the first] practice Friday. The number of games he’ll miss is undetermined.”
Henderson led the SEC in scoring last season as a junior, and his absence will leave a hole talent-wise on the court. His attitude may be the biggest concern for Ole Miss supporters, but Kennedy doesn’t appear worried about where Henderson’s head will be when he returns.
“Sometimes you don’t realize how much you love something until you can’t have it or might not have it,” Kennedy said. “I believe in him, we all do here.”
As part of earning back his uniform and hopefully turning his life around, Henderson reached out to former college and NBA player Chris Herren, who also suffered from substance abuse.
Ole Miss opens its season Nov. 1 against South Carolina-Aiken.
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