Marshall Henderson goes by the nickname of Native Flash, due to his Native-American heritage, and I’m assuming his desire to be like Dwyane Wade, but he needs a better nickname. I suggest we call him Green Light, because there isn’t a basketball player on the planet who has more of a green light to shoot than Marshall Henderson. I have heard of “let it fly” before, but Henderson has taken it to a whole new level. Marshall Henderson is chucking the ball, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks, and that is what makes him so fun to watch.
I tried to come up with past college basketball gunners who might stack up to Henderson, and I immediately thought of Adam Morrison, J.J. Redick, Jimmer Ferdette and Kemba Walker. These are the most recent college players that had full reign on the court. They could do whatever they wanted without any repercussion. There were some freshmen like Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley who never shied away from a shot, but they were freshmen, and had to answer to upperclassmen if they became too shot-happy. When you look at the numbers, Henderson blows the other four away as far as shots per minute, and that’s even with him getting a slow start.
Henderson did not play the first game of the season against Troy — because of a suspension for off the court issues — and he only played 63 combined minutes in his first three games. The start was slow, but Green Light is in a groove now. Over the last six games, Green Light has averaged 27.7 minutes per game, and is shooting 17 times per game, that equates to 0.613 shots per minute. That is an odd number to see, I mean, who tracks shots per minute? Well, I do, at least now I do; that way I can prove my point about Henderson.
Like I said, that number seems odd to look at, so let’s put it into perspective. Antoine Mason leads the NCAA in shot attempts, and points this season, and he averages 0.516 shots per minute. Carmelo Anthony leads the NBA in shot attempts so far this season, and he is at 0.527 shots per minute. Green Light blows those two away. As far as historical references go: Adam Morrison took 0.512 shots per minute, Redick .0482 shots per minute, Jimmer Ferdette 0.463 shots per minute and Kemba Walker 0.479 shots per minute. All of those numbers are from that specific player’s last season in college, and also happen to be their most prolific seasons. There isn’t one player that is even close to the 0.591 shots per minute that Green Light put up this season.
Not only do college players not stack up to Green Light, NBA players can’t match his shot-taking prowess either. The only NBA player that can top Henderson is one of the NBA’s greatest shot-takers: Kobe Bryant. That’s right, the incomparable Black Mamba is the only other player that is in the same class as Green Light. In the 2005-06 season, Bryant shot an astounding 0.663 shots per minute. Wow! That is absolutely insane. How did no one on that team kill him, or have him kidnapped “Celtic Pride” style?
What makes these numbers even more eye-popping is the fact that Henderson is shooting 35.6 percent from the field, all of the others shot at least 45 percent from the field. Green Light keeps heaving up attempts even though the majority of them don’t go in, and he does not care. For the most part, it doesn’t seem as if his teammates care either. They are content to let him throw it up all game long, just as long as he makes them when they matter, and that is the good thing about Green Light.
Not being sacred to shoot when the pressure is on is a skill; it is a skill that certain players don’t have, and another comparable trait he has with Kobe. Against Oregon earlier this season, he hit two three’s with less than 30 seconds left to force overtime. He is a sniper assassin; granted, a sniper assassin who gets the drunken shakes from time to time, but an assassin nonetheless. The Green Light is the most entertaining player in college basketball, and he is one of the most entertaining players in college basketball history. As long as there is enough time left on the clock, Green Light has enough bullets to keep Ole Miss in any game this season, which is why Green Light is must-watch TV.
Follow Robbie on Twitter @rmarbury.