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Henderson’s fast start a key for Ole Miss

Junior college transfer Marshall Henderson has been lighting up the scoreboard for Ole Miss this season, and he gives the Rebels a new weapon in its arsenal in their quest to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Alex Edwards | The Daily Mississippian

 
Marshall Henderson made quite a few stops before arriving in Oxford, but he is quickly making a name for himself as a Rebel.
 
Henderson has given Ole Miss an offensive weapon that last year’s team lacked. Ole Miss has scored 90 points in four of their five games this season. Last year, the Rebels surpassed 90 points just once. The Rebels are also winning by an average of 33.2 points per game. Henderson’s team-leading 17 points per game are one of the main reasons why the offense has clicked this season.
 
The Hurst, Texas, native has done the majority of his damage from long range. He has shot 56 three-pointers this season, the third-most in the NCAA. He has made 20 of those, which gives Ole Miss a deep shooting threat they lacked last season. This past season, senior guard Nick Williams led the team with 38 made three-pointers. Ole Miss, as a team this past season, ranked 305th in the NCAA in made three-pointers.
 
Henderson has also helped Ole Miss at the free throw line, where he has gone 13-for-14 this season. The Rebels ranked 336th nationally last year by shooting 60 percent.
 
The Ole Miss basketball team is off to a 5-0 start, due in part to Henderson’s shooting, but also his on-court energy.
 
“He’s got passion,” head coach Andy Kennedy said after the Rebels’ victory over Coastal Carolina. “There’s a big difference between passion and emotion. Passion is good, emotion is bad.” 
 
Henderson is not afraid to show his passion on the court. He is frequently yelling and celebrating, or trying to pump the crowd up after a big play. 
 
Henderson has struggled shooting the ball in the last two games. He was 4-for-22 from three-point range in the Rebels’ two victories over Thanksgiving Break. 
 
“It’s not going to keep him from shooting the ball,” Kennedy said. “For him, it’s just a matter of finding rhythm. He’s got to be a little more patient in allowing the game to come to him. He’ll shoot his way out of it. He’ll be fine.”
 
Henderson began his career as a Utah Ute. He averaged 11.8 points as a freshman at Utah, but then transferred to Texas Tech and sat out a season due to NCAA transfer rules. He would never play a game for Texas Tech because he transferred to South Plains College in Texas after the Red Raiders fired Pat Knight. He led South Plains to an undefeated national championship this past season by averaging 19.6 points per game and was named the National Junior College Player of the Year. Despite his many stops, Henderson said he already feels that Ole Miss is the right fit for him.
 
“I’m 100 percent comfortable,” he said. “I love being here at Ole Miss. It’s a great support system here in the community of Oxford. It’s great to know that nationwide, anyone who has anything to do with Ole Miss has my back.”
 
The ultimate goal of this team is to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Kennedy. Senior forward Murphy Holloway thinks Henderson will be the difference this season. 
 
“I think Marshall (Henderson) gets us there,” Holloway said. 
Henderson and the Rebels will face their biggest test so far this season when they host Rutgers (4-1), as a part of the Big East-SEC Challenge, on Saturday at 1 p.m. from Tad Smith Coliseum.
 
For continuing coverage of Ole Miss men’s basketball, follow @thedm_sports and @Tyler_RSR on Twitter.