Marshall Henderson

Marshall Henderson, the most entertaining villain in the country

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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:

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.

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

ESPN.com was the first to report White’s commitment.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.