Marshall Henderson playing Rupp Arena. It's sort of basketball's version of the Beatles performing on the Ed Sullivan Show, which happened 50 years ago this coming Sunday. Unconventional artist who polarizes the populace but can't be ignored appears on one of this country's grandest stages. Yeah-yeah-yeah! "He's a Basketball Jones," Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said of Henderson. "He understands what Rupp Arena's all about." Henderson's quick-draw shooting and excitable-boy personna took the Southeastern Conference by storm last season. He led the Rebels to their first NCAA Tournament since 2002, and their most-lopsided NCAA Tournament victory ever (57-46 over Wisconsin). On Tuesday night, he leads Ole Miss in a game at Kentucky. It's a matchup as much of man and moment as team versus team. Kennedy noted that Henderson's father, a high school coach in Texas, won't be able to watch what happens. His team has a game. "He was really bummed," Kennedy said of the elder Henderson. As for the younger Henderson, Kennedy said, "I know he'll be excited. Does that mean he'll play well? Does that mean he'll play poorly? Who knows? I just know he'll shoot the bunch of balls." Kentucky is aware. Assistant Coach Orlando Antigua, who substituted for John Calipari in the day-before-the-game news conference, said, "He's going to get his shots up. We know that. It's what he's done his whole career there at Ole Miss. We just have to make it difficult for him." Kentucky did just that last season in Oxford, winning 87-74 as Henderson made five of 19 shots (two of 11 from three-point range). When a reporter made the oxymoronic suggestion that UK contained Henderson by forcing him farther out onto the open court, Antigua said, "He shot it out to 30 feet. I don't know you can push him out any farther than that." Henderson, who leads the SEC and ranks second in the nation with an average of 4.28 three-pointers (UK averages 5.4 as a team), has made at least one in a school-record 54 straight games. He made 10 (in 23 attempts) against Oregon on Dec. 8. "He doesn't have a green light, he has no light," Antigua quipped. "And he's really active. And those guys are really looking for him." There's a method to the bombs-away approach. Ole Miss expects the threat of Henderson pouring in three-pointers to warp opponents' defenses. At the worst, the other four Rebels can play four-on-four on offense. Point guard Jarvis Summers benefits. "Unquestionably our MVP," Kennedy said earlier this season. "Jarvis does a good job playing into those gaps (created by defense on Henderson)." Kentucky will want to pick up Henderson early in transition. On an SEC coaches' teleconference Monday, Calipari cited transition defense as an "issue" for the Cats. Missouri scored 18 fast-break points on Saturday. That included six scores within nine seconds of a UK basket. "That's something we can control," Antigua said of the opponent scoring after UK puts the ball in its basket. "That's identifying the problem and fixing it. And not relaxing. Not looking to celebrate. Just recognizing we made a basket and we have to get back. Unless we're pressing, everybody should be sprinting back."
Marshall-mania hits Rupp Arena for Kentucky game
Lexington Herald-Leader | Feb 4