Marshall Henderson

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.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.