With new batch of drinking pics, can Marshall Henderson avoid reverting into @NativeFlash22?

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Marshall Henderson became a sensation last season for a number of reasons — he made Ole Miss basketball relevant, which is not an easy thing to do; his antics on the court made him perfect GIF material; and he had a habit of making sure that his hard-partying ways ended up on social media as often as possible.

More than anything, it was the latter that got him in trouble, as his “White Girl Wednesday” tweets and a bad habit of taking drunk pictures with fans (including during the Rebels’ NCAA tournament run) turned him into a spectacle. Combine that with a past that was easily accessible to reporters, and all of a sudden all of Henderson’s dirty laundry was out in the open.

That much may have been a secret if Henderson hadn’t shot to internet stardom as the wildest player in college hoops. If he remained Marshall Henderson instead of turning himself into @NativeFlash22, would his every move have been chronicled by every blog on the internet?

And, in the same vein, would his suspension from the team this summer have spawned columns from every national writer and been a national talking point if he had simply been a kid that could score with a troubled past?

Which brings me to this weekend. Henderson was snapped in a couple of pictures (here and here) that made their way onto Instagram and Twitter during a tailgate for Saturday’s Ole Miss football game against Southeast Missouri State. In the pictures, he’s holding a red solo cup in his hand, and while there’s no way to know what he is actually drinking in those pictures, this picture from late August, of Henderson drinking a Coors Light while on a boat, doesn’t do much to support the theory that he’s given up boozing cold turkey.

(I reached out to Ole Miss, and while they confirmed that it is Henderson in those pictures, they said that his status with the team has not changed and that they had no additional comments on his suspension.)

And therein lies the problem.

At the end of the day, a college kid that’s of age drinking at a football game tailgate on while out on a boat in the middle of a lake is hardly a bad thing, even if it is an athlete. This is the offseason. If Henderson didn’t have a history, than these pictures wouldn’t be worth commenting, unless it was to ask him whether a haircut is forthcoming.

But Henderson does have a history.

A long one.

One that led me to write this column back in July, before his suspension, about coming to a crossroad in his carer.

One that involves cocaine, weed, plenty of drinking and the school reaching out to Chris Herren, the former Fresno State and Boston College star that has turned a life of addiction into one of motivational speaking.

I don’t know if Henderson is an addict — the school reaching out to Herren can lead one to believe that his issues with substance abuse aren’t minor — but whatever the case may be, with his past, going out and drinking does not seem like the best idea.

And allowing pictures to be taken with a drink in hand seems like one of the worst ideas he’s ever had.

I don’t know the details of Henderson’s suspension. I don’t know the plan that Andy Kennedy was referring to in this article, written by Mike DeCourcy.

But I’m guessing reverting back into @NativeFlash22 was not involved in those plans.

Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight schedule, tip times, and announcer pairings

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Regional Finals – Sunday, March 26

2:20 p.m.,CBS, New York
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Florida (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

5:05 p.m., CBS, Memphis
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

Steve Alford: ‘I’m very happy at UCLA’

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UCLA head coach Steve Alford was still processing an 86-75 season-ending loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday night when he had to answer questions about another blueblood program.

Sine the dismal of Tom Crean at Indiana, Alford has been one of the names rumored to be in the mix for the coaching vacancy. A reporter in the press conference in Memphis didn’t even get a chance to finish his question before Alford cut him off and a publicly state that he was happy in Westwood.

“I said it last week, and I’ll reiterate it again even more so, I guess, that I love Los Angeles,” Alford said. “To begin with, it’s a beautiful place, and our family has fallen in love with it. I’ve got two sons now, Kory first and now Bryce, that have graduated. Bryce is done, so he’s graduating from UCLA, so I’ve got two sons that are graduates from there, a daughter that loves the school she’s going to in Thousand Oaks. I’m very happy. I’m at UCLA. I don’t know of a lot of people that are out there wanting to leave UCLA.

“This is a pretty special place. We’ve worked awfully hard. Our staff has worked hard. We’ve got the No. 2 recruiting class coming in next year. We’re opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art, 60-plus million practice facility, Mo Ostin Center, that is going to be spectacular that we’ve worked awfully hard to be a part of that, and I want to see that through, and we’ve got some special kids that are coming to join us.

“I’m very, very happy where I’m at, and hopefully, that’ll continue.”

Alford won a national championship with the Hoosiers in 1987, scoring more than 2,400 points in his career under head coach Bob Knight. He has been with UCLA since 2013, reaching the Sweet 16 in three of his four seasons with the Bruins.

Crean was fired on March 16 after nine season in Bloomington.

Lonzo Ball has officially declared for the 2017 NBA Draft

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Following a season-ending loss in the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, UCLA freshman point guard unsurprisingly announced that he will enter the NBA Draft.

“That was my final game for UCLA. I appreciate the fans,” Ball told reporters.

The 6-foot-6 point guard has a strong case to be the No. 1 overall pick. It could be almost too enticing for the Los Angeles Lakers to pass on a Southern Cal product if the ping pong balls fall in their favor. New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka were in Memphis for Friday night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky.

Ball, in an All-American freshman season with the Bruins, averaged 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and a nation’s best 7.6 assists per game, while shooting 56 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

He ended his college career with an 86-75 loss to the Wildcats, scoring 10 points, off 4-of-10 shooting, with eight assists.

VIDEO: Florida’s Chris Chiozza beats Wisconsin at the buzzer

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK — So you didn’t think the NCAA Tournament had enough excitement this year?

Wisconsin and Florida solved that problem for you.

The Badgers started things, as they erased a 12-point deficit in the final 4:15 to force overtime, a stretch that included an 8-0 run at the end of regulation that was capped by a Zak Showalter running three with 2.5 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 72.

Wisconsin jumped out to a lead in overtime, but the combination of an inability to make free throws and and this epic chasedown block from Canyon Barry left the door open for the Gators, who eventually won the game on this running three from Chris Chiozza:

What.

A.

Game.

If we get a better one than this, I just hope I’m courtside for it.

KeVaughn Allen led the way for the Gators with 35 points, and no one else on the Gators scored more than eight points, but it didn’t matter. The Gators are still headed to the Elite 8, and Mike White will have a chance to play for the right to go to the Final Four in his first NCAA Tournaments.

Replacing a legend like Billy Donovan was never going to be easy, but White is doing an admirable job.

The other subplot here: With the win, Florida becomes the third member of the SEC in the Elite 8, and with a regional final against South Carolina on Sunday afternoon, it guarantees that there will be at least one SEC team in the Final Four.

While there were celebrations in the Florida locker room, Wisconsin’s was one of devastation.

The Badgers started four seniors, including tournament stalwarts Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, who played in their 17th career NCAA Tournament games.

Hayes had 22 points, but he’s going to be haunted by the free throws he missed. He was 7-for-14 from the line on the night, including four missed freebies in overtime. The end was similarly heart-breaking for Koenig, as he was a non-factor in overtime due to an injury he suffered on the possession before Showalter’s game-tying three.

Both of them are going to spend years thinking ‘What if?’ That’s how the NCAA Tournament works.

Everyone leaves in tears, either because they’re cutting down the nets at the Final Four or because their season — their career — just came to an end.

Hayes and Koenig were no different.

VIDEO: Canyon Barry saves Florida with epic chase down block

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Florida’s Canyon Berry had the best chase down block since LeBron James in the 2016 NBA Finals.

It kept Wisconsin’s lead at two points and gave the Gators a chance to tie and, eventually, win the game.

Look at this: