Meet SEC’s villain Marshall Henderson
by David Climer, USA TODAY Sports
At the end of the SEC tournament on Sunday, a panel will select the event’s Most Valuable Player.
Who will it be? I’ll have to get back to you on that.
But an unofficial award already has been decided. Hands down, Marshall Henderson has been selected the Most Vilified Player.
If you’re an Ole Miss coach, player or fan, you probably love him. Otherwise, not so much.
And you know what? He doesn’t care.
“I’ve been a villain everywhere I’ve gone,” he said. “It’s cool. I like it, actually. I feed off that. I love it when my name gets announced and I hear, ‘Booo!’ That’s the best. All I do is just smile.”
He’s been smiling a lot the last few days. Ole Miss keeps winning, including a 64-52 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday, and Henderson keeps evoking strong emotions from those on the court and in the stands.
Yes, he’s an acquired taste. He’s talented, brazen and outspoken. Basketball purists are aghast.
Get over it. College basketball in general and the SEC in particular need personalities like Henderson. Too often, our attention is diverted to the millionaire shoe salesmen that multi-task as coaches. What’s wrong with a player embracing the spotlight?
Personally, I hope the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee deems the Rebels bracket-worthy. With so many one-and-done quick exits to the NBA, the college game often lacks star power and personality.
In short, March Madness needs a madman. Marshall Henderson, come on down.
He’s all for it, of course. He sees the NCAA Tournament as a means to a financial end.
“The last couple of NCAA Tournaments you’ve seen a Steph Curry and Jimmer Fredette, and I’m trying to be them – get a run and try to make a name for myself and get this money.” Henderson said.
To him, game time is show time. Vanderbilt’s defense clamped down on him early in the tournament semifinal but Henderson eventually took over. A couple of his baskets were downright demoralizing.
“We knew Marshall Henderson was going to take some crazy shots but we knew he was going to make some crazy shots,” said Vanderbilt forward Josh Henderson. “We were told … [For more on Meet SEC's Most Vilified Player: Ole Miss menace Marshall Henderson, click here.]