At some point, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy is going to have to say “enough is enough” with bad boy Marshall Henderson.
Kennedy suspended Henderson indefinitely for a violation of team rules on Wednesday, the school announced, and CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reported that the suspension is due to drugs.
Depending on the drug of choice, especially if it’s of the recreational variety, testing positive is a slap on the wrist. College athletes, if they’re good enough, get second and third chances.
Henderson is proof. USA Today reported earlier this year that Henderson tested positive for cocaine and marijuana in January 2012. Those drug tests were administered because Henderson got himself in some major trouble buying drugs as a high school senior.
From USA Today:
When he was a high school senior in May 2009, he and a friend used $800 of counterfeit money to buy 57 grams of marijuana in two separate exchanges, according to a statement Henderson gave to two U.S. Secret Service agents while a student at Utah.
If the report from Parrish is true, Henderson is not just the college athlete who gets caught once and learns his lesson.
That’s the story Henderson would like us to believe. He fancies himself as a redemption story. Ole Miss is his fourth college. He also attended Utah and Texas Tech before he got back on the path to relevancy at South Plains Junior College.
Henderson became a national story this past season because of his ability to hit threes and pop his jersey. Kennedy let Henderson's antics slide. If he disciplined him, it was away from the court. He gave a "Marshall is going to be Marshall" narrative.
But similar to his off-court actions, Henderson just went too far.
He finished his look-at-me first season at Ole Miss by exiting with his middle fingers waving in the air at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
He apologized and said he was going to be different. He even wrote a letter to Ole Miss fans:
With only nine hours left to earn my degree, I want to help build this program and that means I need to be a leader for my teammates both on and off the court. The spotlight on the court means my actions affect more than just me, and I need to show my teammates that I can be a leader for this team.
Hmmm… That sure sounds a lot like the official statement Kennedy delivered on Wednesday (via ClarionLedger.com):
Since the season ended, we have talked a lot about Marshall taking a greater leadership role with our team. With that comes greater responsibility, and he must do a better job of living up to the high standard we expect from him and he desires from himself.
That all sounds great, coach Kennedy. But Henderson’s track record says he’ll do what he wants and he believes his jumper will save him in the end.
For the sake of the program, Kennedy has to draw the line somewhere. If Henderson keeps getting second and third and fourth chances, the reputation of the school and Kennedy take the biggest hit.
At some point, the embarrassment outweighs the jumper.