Controversial Ole Miss basketball star has North Texas roots

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 1:00 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 1:00 AM

HURST -- Marshall Henderson is the leading scorer in the SEC after arriving at Ole Miss -- his fourth college in four years.

He was the national player of the year at South Plains Junior College, spent time in jail last year, argued with his own coach during a loss to Kentucky, and taunted Auburn fans after hitting the game-winning free throws.

He's the son of a basketball coach, L.D. Bell's Willie Henderson.

"Gyms are packing out just to see this guy -- you don't know what he's going to do next," Coach Henderson said.

It's complicated.

"He was like this when he was a little kid," Coach Henderson said. "I mean, first grade. He played exactly like this when he was in first grade."

Marshall Henderson averages 19 points per game, the majority of those coming from behind the three-point line -- anywhere behind that line.

His dad showed us a designed play that L.D. Bell would run off the opening tip. The center would tip the ball to Marshall, who would catch the ball just a couple steps in front of the half court line and shoot a 3-pointer.

"He'd catch it right here, without a dribble, and just pull up," said Willie Henderson, standing some 30 feet from the basket.

Marshall played for his dad at L.D. Bell, graduating in 2009. He began his college career at Utah and started every game as a freshman.

He then transferred to Texas Tech and redshirted. Pat Knight had recruited Henderson, and when Knight was fired, Henderson changed schools again, going to South Plains Junior College, which is near Lubbock. There, he won a national championship and was the national junior college player of the year.

After that one season, he transferred again, this time to Ole Miss.

His criminal history followed him, beginning with a drug arrest in 2009, and culminating with 25 days in jail last year.

"He's where he's at because he persevered," said Marshall's dad, Willie Henderson. "He didn't let it destroy him."

Marshall Henderson is compelling and controversial, and he has Ole Miss (17-3) off to its best start since 1937.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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