Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Ole Miss’ Marshall struts in, will sling
Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson (22) reacts after being called for a foul during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Alabama in Oxford, Miss., Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Mississippi won 79-67. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
FAYETTEVILLE - Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss’ gun-slinging senior guard who has fired up 712 threepoint shots in his two SEC seasons, will make a onetime appearance at Walton Arena when the Rebels play Arkansas on Wednesday night.
“Marshall Henderson is a guy that’s capable of just exploding, and he has done that this year shooting the basketball from wherever,” Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said. “He’s open from the time he comes into the arena.”
Henderson, averaging 19.2 points and an SEC-leading 4.4 three-pointers per game, missed three games earlier this season because of a disciplinary suspension, but he still leads the SEC with 318 three-point attempts. Vanderbilt’s Rod Odom and Florida’s Michael Frazier are second with 195 three-point attempts each.
Henderson made 35.1 percent of his NCAA record 394 attempts last season, so his accuracy has actually improved after averaging 20.1 points (3.83 three-point baskets) leading Ole Miss to the SEC Tournament title and its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2002.
“He’s certainly been a marked man,” Rebels Coach Andy Kennedy said. “He’s a volume guy that we need to make shots.
“I think he’s been more focused this year. His game has developed as it relates to understanding and staying within the lines and playing with the right sort of focus.”
Henderson has hit at least one three-pointer in 62 consecutive games, surpassing the SEC record of 60 games, which he shared with former Razorback Pat Bradley, last week when he made 2 of 8 in a 79-67 victory over Alabama.
Bradley, co-host of a Little Rock radio call-in show on KABZ-FM, 103.7, sat courtside in Tad Smith Coliseum at the invitation of a Rebels fan who lives in Little Rock.
Bradley got to chat and congratulate Henderson after the game.
“We shook hands and he said, ‘Sorry about breaking your record, man,’ ” Bradley said. “I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, you did a great job.’ Then he said, ‘Thanks for setting the bar so high.’
“So he apologized to me, then he thanked me.
“How much more gracious could somebody be?”
Bradley, who during his four-year Arkansas career hit 366 of 915 three-point attempts (40 percent), marveled at the amount of shots Henderson is able to generate.
“For the past two years, he’s the one guy for Ole Miss that every opposing player, coach and fan knows is trying to shake loose,” Bradley said.
“To be the center of the other’s defensive game plan and have guys chasing you all over the court, and still be able to get off and make that many shots is pretty remarkable.
“A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is to even shake free of the defense and get open for a shot, let alone when everyone knows you’re the No. 1 option.
“But Marshall, he never stops moving without the ball, and if you do that long enough, you’ll find the open spots.”
Henderson set an Ole Miss record with 10 threepoint baskets in 23 attempts when he scored a career-high 30 points in a 115-105 overtime loss to Oregon earlier this season.
His SEC high this season was 29 points in a 91-88 victory over Missouri when he hit 8 of 15 three-pointers.
“He knows how to get open,” Missouri Coach Frank Haith said.
“When he comes off a screen, he’s as good as anybody in the country at shooting going away from the basket.
“He gets his foot pointed and gets in his shot real quick.
“He also has great elevation for a guy shooting a jump shot.”
Bradley said Henderson has practiced taking and making awkward shots.
“He’s able to get his balance quick, and get shots off if he’s fading back, to the left, to the right,” Bradley said.
“It’s not like he just gets out there and takes wild shots. He’s developed the ability over time to make shots from a variety of angles.”
Anderson said the best way to contain Henderson is to limit his touches, but that he’ll get some shots with the trapping defense Arkansas plays.
“If he’s making it from 40 feet, he’s got to shoot it from 50 feet,” Anderson said.
“I mean, that’s got to be the solution for that, because one thing about him, he has no conscience.”
Arkansas vs. Ole Miss
WHEN Wednesday, 7 p.m.
WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville TV None
Sports, Pages 13 on 03/04/2014