So, who convinced Marshall Henderson to do this? The polarizing Ole Miss star pretty much lived up to his late-arriving hype this season, creating attention for himself and his team and helping to save Andy Kennedy's job by being part of Ole Miss' first NCAA tournament run in more than a decade.
But Henderson's a volatile personality at times. And after months of living as he pleased, getting pictures of him partying posted on the Internet and interacting at will, in negative/taunting ways, with opposing crowds, it seems now he's been reined in a bit. And he is setting the standard higher for himself for his final season at the school.
So, kind of out of the blue, Henderson decided to write a quick note to Rebels fans.
Here it is in its entirety.
First, I would like to thank the Ole Miss fans for their support this season. It was a lot of fun even though we didn't make it to the Sweet Sixteen in L.A. It was our goal this season to get Reggie, Murph and Nick to the Big Dance and we did that. It is my goal to make next season even better.
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.
I play the game with a lot of passion, and sometimes that passion boils over. I take responsibility for my actions this season and apologize to anyone I offended. However, my edge on the court has made me the player that I am. I can't change that, but I do understand that I can take things too far.
I have come to understand this year that I represent this team and this university, and I have to hold myself to a higher standard than people in the stands, because I am a student-athlete at Ole Miss.
It's sort of the line now for Henderson, right? An acknowledgement of things he took too far, and so we'll have to remember this next season. Can Marshall Henderson change? Should he? Isn't college basketball "better" because it has a player with this kind of personality and magnetism?
The flipping off of crowds we could do without. I think that was the impetus for this quick letter. But I think most college basketball fans, whether they like or don't like Henderson, probably want the guy to remain as antagonistic and energizing as he was this year, because he makes the sport more interesting.
I believe Henderson will be a different player next season, but I don't want him to change too much. We've already got the sport watered down with most players fearing to show character. Let's not mute one of the few who transcends that.