Playing for Ole Miss from 2012-14, Marshall Henderson had one of the most notorious/colorful runs in the history of NCAA hoops. He dominated the SEC with a barrage of three pointers, while courting trouble with coaches, the media, opposing fans, and the law.
After college, the headlines fizzled out when Henderson went undrafted by the NBA. A globe-hopping tour ensued, with pro gigs in Italy, followed by a stint in Qatar, and most recently Iraq.
''We just chill in the hotel. We don't go anywhere. We could go places and it would be safe. We wouldn't be worried about getting captured or anything. It's definitely better than I would've expected.''
Henderson’s agent landed him a $10K per month roster spot with Naft Al-Janoob of the Iraqi Division I Basketball League. The team is based in Basra, home to an Iraqi War battle in 2008 that saw more than 1,000 casualties over six days of fighting. While the city has largely returned to a state of normalcy, just last October it was the site of an Islamic State bombing that claimed four lives.
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Iraq is a world apart, literally and figuratively, from where Henderson found himself three years ago. As a University of Mississippi transfer from South Plains Junior College, Henderson led the Rebels to to the 2013 SEC tournament title, then scored 19 points to help Old Miss upset 5-seed Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Henderson still harbors hopes of landing a spot on an NBA roster, but the path back to pro ball in the States will likely involve more stints in exotic locales. Late last year, he failed to make much of an impression in four games with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA’s D-League. It will be interesting to see if either Henderson, or fellow college star Jimmer Fredette, can ultimately realize their hoop dreams.
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