Marshall Henderson officially made the jump from college basketball cult icon to full-blown internet sensation this weekend.
It started with a game. On Thursday night, Henderson scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half — including a couple of threes from somewhere around 28 feet — while leading Ole Miss to a 62-56 win over Tennessee.
That performance prompted Gary Parrish to tweet the following, something that has stayed with me since I read it:
If Marshall Henderson were named Jimmer Henderson he might be college basketball’s biggest star.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) January 25, 2013
Gary, it appears as if you are wrong, my friend.
On Saturday night, Henderson nearly broke the internet when, after hitting a pair of game-winning free throws to beat Auburn on the road, he went over to the student-section and decided to let the them know about it, while in the process helping to create the single-greatest GIF that was ever made.
But there’s more. After the Tennessee win, someone managed to snap this photo of Henderson (ahem) enjoying the perks of being the SEC’s leading scorer. On Monday morning, Busted Coverage managed to collect a couple of photos of Henderson’s post-Auburn celebration, complete with the double-fisted Coors Lights you’d expect out of any college kid.
And that’s where Parrish gets it wrong.
Henderson is going to be the most popular college basketball star on the internet because he is the opposite of Jimmer. As Dan Wolken put it, Marshall is the Bizarro Jimmer. He’s an outlandish personality, a bundle of energy and excitement that oozes trash-talk and loves nothing more than flaunting his success in the face of the nearest student section.
He puts on a show, both with the way he plays — I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love watching a player bury three and three from unnecessarily far beyond the arc? — and his antics on the court.
This isn’t new, either.
Jerry Tipton of Kentucky.com wrote a terrific feature on Henderson highlighting some of the best anecdotes we’ve seen of him to date:
Or the time Green got tired of Henderson receiving technical fouls for hanging on the rim after a dunk. The coach said he would add a one-game suspension to the next such technical. Then although knowing his parents were coming to the next game, Henderson couldn’t resist getting another technical for hanging on the rim. His parents cancelled the trip.
“He wasn’t happy about it,” Green said. “Maybe he muttered something under his breath. But during the game, he was cheering like a mad man. I think that moment showed his teammates he was not about himself.”
Henderson is a really, really good basketball player that just so happens to know that he’s really, really good and loves nothing more than proving that point to anyone that isn’t wearing Ole Miss colors.
Sportsmanship may not be his forte. Showmanship is. And if the reaction of his six vanquished SEC foes to date are any indication, Henderson will be this season’s villain in the SEC.
And you’ll tune in to watch every second of it, just like me.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.