The Ole Miss Rebels have officially announced the punishment for star guard Marshall Henderson. After reportedly failing more than one drug test in the offseason, Henderson will be suspended for four total games. He will miss one exhibition game (against South Carolina-Aiken), the Rebs’ regular season opener (against Troy) and the team’s first two SEC games (at rival Mississippi State, then home vs. LSU).
The staggered suspension is certainly unique. While some may not believe it goes far enough for a young man who has run into trouble with the law numerous times dating back to high school, it does mean he will miss important games.
Henderson is simply thankful for another chance to play.
“I want to thank coach [Andy] Kennedy, [athletic director] Ross Bjork and the university for giving me an opportunity to rejoin the team,” Henderson said in a statement. “This has been a difficult time for me, and I appreciate this chance. My teammates and I are looking forward to defending our SEC Championship.”
Henderson averaged 20.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game a year ago. He starred in the postseason, leading his Rebels to a win over the Florida Gators in the SEC Tournament Championship Game, and then beating Wisconsin in the NCAA Tourney’s Round of 64.
“I support this decision, and I am thankful to our leadership for allowing Marshall the opportunity to earn the right to rejoin our team,” Kennedy said. “Marshall has been compliant with the process put in place for him since his suspension in early July, and we look forward to him being back on our team.”
Kennedy should be excited to have Henderson back. In the six years he coached Ole Miss coach prior to 2012-13, he led the Rebels to the NIT five times, but never the NCAA Tournament.
His team is not expected to be good enough to make a second consecutive appearance without Henderson on the floor.