On Tuesday morning, ESPN.com’s Andy Katz reported that troubled Ole Miss star Marshall Henderson is expected to return to class next week when the fall semester starts.
Henderson was suspended indefinitely from the program back in July for a violation of team rules. According to reports at the time, it was once again drugs that got Henderson in trouble.
While Henderson will be returning to class, he has yet to be reinstated by head coach Andy Kennedy, per Katz. The plan is for Henderson to get back into school and work on earning back the trust of his coaches, teammates and school officials, although that seems like a politically correct way of saying ‘we’re not kicking him off, but we’re making it look like he’s earning his way back’.
I still believe that this is the right decision by Kennedy, I just hope that he’s putting in the work — and ensuring that Henderson is putting in the work — to get him healthy. I’ve said this before: I don’t believe that Henderson’s issues are simply being a frat boy that parties too much. I don’t think Chris Herren would be called in if this was just a case of a punk kid ignoring rules.
Kennedy’s first goal should be to get Henderson clean, ensure that he graduates and help him work into becoming a productive member of society. If using a return to the team as a reward for Henderson getting his [stuff] together, I can’t see how that’s a bad thing.
UPDATE: Mike DeCourcy caught up with Andy Kennedy on Tuesday, and this is what he had to say:
“He will miss games,” Kennedy told Sporting News. “The extent of that is yet to be determined as we go through this process.”
Henderson’s indefinite suspension was announced July 10. Kennedy said a plan was put in place at that point through the university administration for Henderson to return to full status with the Rebels.
“From the time I suspended him, he’s been 100 percent compliant with the plan,” Kennedy said. “And our hope is he will continue to make the strides necessary to get back on the court.”
Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.
According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.
That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.
“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”
As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.
Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.
When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.
Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.
Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.
While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.
“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”
Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.