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.

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.