OLE MISS

Henderson Practicing As Rebels Open Preseason

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The Ole Miss men's basketball officially opened preseason practice on Friday, and senior guard Marshall Henderson was a full participant.


Head coach Andy Kennedy said Tuesday there has already been a determination that Henderson will miss games. How many he will miss has yet to be determined, and it's ongoing based on his progression.


"When he was suspended in early July, there was a process put into place to which he had to conform in order to be where he is today," Kennedy said. "From the second week in July until we started school at the end of August, there were things that were put in place that he had to meet.


"He met those. Therefore when we started school and preseason training -- conditioning, weights, individual development -- he was a part of those things. How he continues along this progression will determine what happens next."


Henderson, Kennedy said, has been 100 percent compliant as it relates to the plan that has been put in place.


"I see a sense of urgency as it relates to the position that he has put himself in," he said. "He's completely aware of the predicament that he has created for us, but he's owned it."


On the court, Kennedy noted that Henderson, an All-SEC performer last year and the conference's reigning leading scorer, is stronger physically and has a better understanding of the consistency with which you have to play to be successful at this level.


"Marshall's play has not changed," he said. "He's the same guy from an energy and emotional standpoint. He's taken a leadership role. He's always going to be the way he is, as it relates to passion, being engaged and playing on that edge from a basketball standpoint.


"The thing that I have been the most proud of is he's winning the sprints at the end. He's encouraging the young guys when they make mistakes. Those are the areas that I have seen a marked improvement in Marshall and his approach to the game."


When Henderson misses games, Ole Miss will be without four of its top five scorers from last season. 


"I am preparing every day as if he's not out there, so I'm trying to make sure that I'm doing the best that I can with the players that I know will be available for game one to give us the best chance to be successful," Kennedy said of being without Henderson.


In the backcourt, without Henderson's 20.1 points per game, more will be demanded of juniors Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White, the fourth and sixth leading scorers on last year's team, respectively, as well as sophomore Derrick Millinghaus.


The Rebels will also be tasked with replacing Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner in the frontcourt, who averaged a combined 25 points and 18 rebounds last year. They will also be without sophomore Terry Brutus who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the preseason.


"We're going to ask those four guys to do it by committee, and I think they're certainly capable of doing it," Kennedy said of the frontcourt. "They just haven't done it. Until they do it, we'll all have to see how quickly they can respond."


Senior Demarco Cox (foot) has been cleared for full contact for more than a month, and junior Aaron Jones (ACL) has been cleared for about two weeks. Freshmen Dwight Coleby and Sebastian Saiz, Kennedy said, have made great contributions and will also be in the mix there.


 

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