When Marshall Henderson was suspended this summer the Ole Miss administration circled the wagons and stopped talking on the subject.
That changed a little bit Tuesday with comments from Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy to The Sporting News.
Kennedy told The Sporting News that Henderson will miss games. What exactly that means remains unclear.
The key phrase here is “100 percent compliant.”
The first evidence in that compliance is the fact that Henderson has not posted a comment to Twitter since this on July 11:
Talkin with chris herren can make ya feel alot better!! #notgoinanywhere
If you’re one of his more than 72,000 followers, and you’re looking for the shock effect of Henderson on Twitter you’ve been disappointed.
It’s a safe bet that part of the plan for Henderson that Kennedy discusses involves social media.
Henderson enjoyed the spotlight last season, and if he can let go of a forum like Twitter that would seem to be a big first step in getting off the suspension list.
It seems that he’s been quiet. If he’s been loud and raucous he’s at least managed to keep things private.
There’s surely more to the “plan” than absence from social media. If Henderson is smart, and I think in this regard he is, he’ll realize how much he needs this season of rehabilitation if he’s going to pursue basketball beyond the college level.
If he wants to get paid, as he told us last spring, the last picture for potential employers can’t be Henderson’s gesture leaving the court in Kansas City followed by his summer-time suspension.
There are athletes who are good enough to act that way, get bounced around from team to team and still make money. They are rare.
Henderson led the SEC in scoring last year, was MVP of the SEC tournament and basically became the face of Ole Miss basketball.
Often that’s a flattering description, but that wasn’t the case with Henderson, who made more news for his behavior than his shooting.
With a rebuilding job in the frontcourt Ole Miss needs a focused and improved Henderson this season. There’s experience returning among the guards, but none are proven scorers.
It’s a two-way street. Henderson also needs Ole Miss.
Maybe the current level of compliance means Henderson is gaining some maturity, and both sides will help each other this season.