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If it isn’t the most important question in college basketball, it’s at least the most interesting one to answer.

What makes Ole Miss shooting guard Marshall Henderson—media-appointed mouthpiece of the Southeastern Conference, bane of every opposing fanbase he’s ever encountered and one-time target of the Secret Service—the single most polarizing player in the country?

Glad you asked.

The Basics

Name: Marshall “White Chocolate” Henderson

Dimensions: 6’2″, 175 lbs.

Season Stats: 19.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 30.3 mpg, 58.2 percent true shooting percentage

Season Stat That Will Blow Your Mind: 10.9 three-point attempts per game (34.9 percent success rate)

Birth of the Legend

After scoring 2,829 points during a prolific and controversy-tinged career at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas, Henderson committed to the University of Utah.

During his freshman season with the Utes (2009-10), Henderson averaged 11.8 points and attempted a modest (sarcasm font) 6.5 three-pointers per game.

He also reportedly punched a BYU player in the face…

Stigmatized by the incident and somewhat at odds with coach Jim Boylen, Henderson transferred to Texas Tech at season’s end. Before he could suit up for the Red Raiders, Henderson was contacted by the Secret Service in connection with a crime he’d committed in high school.

From The Clarion-Ledger (h/t The Big Lead):

According to a statement he gave to the Secret Service, in 2009 as a high school senior, Henderson used $800 of counterfeit money given to him by a friend to buy 59 grams of marijuana in two separate transactions.

Henderson got probation, but later violated the terms of his arrangement and served a 25-day stint in prison.

Henderson then transferred to South Plains College, where he averaged 19.6 points per game and led the Texans to the 2012 JUCO national championship. He also attempted 312 three-pointers.

Henderson transferred to Ole Miss at the beginning of this season. He has now attempted 218 three-pointers as a member of the Rebels.

Marshall Henderson loves to shoot.

Why Are We Talking About Him?

Ostensibly because he’s a remorseless gunner with an abiding love of trash talk and the rictus-grin precocity of a mischievous child.

Ostensibly because he’s already the most exciting, irritating, addictively watchable player in the SEC just seven games into his conference career.

Ostensibly because he lives in that precious cultural corridor between what we love to hate and hate to love.

Marshall Henderson loves to talk.

Marshall Henderson Quotes

From the Lexington Herald-Ledger, “Every team has a little white guy who can shoot threes. I’m trying to make a difference.”

On the first crowd that he pissed off (via The Oxford Eagle), “I’m pretty sure it started in seventh grade, whenever I started playing junior high basketball.”

On one of his most memorable shots (via The Oxford Eagle):

I had one in junior college last year. It was probably close to the same time as now. I hit a buzzer beater and that one was actually for the win. We got into a little mini brawl afterwards. It was fun. We threw a lot of chairs in the hallway when we got in the hall. That was great.

On being contacted by the Secret Service (via The Clarion-Ledger):

They came to Utah and were like, ‘Blah and blah and we got this and surveillance camera,’ and I threw up. That was my first thing, because I thout I was doe for. It was scary as hell

Marshall Henderson loves attention.

What The Media Is Saying About Marshall Henderson

From Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated:

I realize Henderson is an emotional player, and he’s having a heck of a season for the resurgent Rebels. But that does not excuse him for running over to the Auburn student section to taunt the fans after he sank the game-winning free throws in Saturday’s 63-61 victory. It’s not like Henderson had a stellar game, either. He needed 13 shots to score 15 points, and as a team the Rebs shot just 4 for 17 from the foul line. I have no doubt that Henderson has many more winning moments in his future. Here’s hoping that when they arrive, he chooses to act like a winner.

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