You can't judge a book by its cover. Or can you? From his on-court antics to what is perceived as a clear DGAF attitude that he portrays off the court, Marshall Henderson is now being referred to by the media and public as the "Bad Boy of the NCAA." But does that title really define who the 22-year-old actually is? The answer isn't as obvious as you think.
To understand the Marshall Henderson you see today, you need to comprehend his past. When he played for Bell High School in Hurst, TX, Henderson's father served as the team's head coach. While the tutelage proved to be valuable for his game, given the fact that Marshall averaged 25.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.8 steals, as well as being named All-County and District MVP in his senior year, Henderson was also battling issues outside the game of basketball. In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, Henderson admitted that playing with his father was "freakin' miserable" and while his stats and accolades began to pile up, things at home got so miserable he left his parents' house.
During this time of uncertainty, Henderson's life took a downward spiral which included trying to buy 57 grams of marijuana with $800 in fake money, twice, and tried to exchange $100 of those counterfeit bills for real ones. He was charged with a misdemeanor account of forgery. Looking back at the situation, Henderson doesn't brag or find humor in it all. Instead, Henderson came to the realization that he was "definitely on the wrong path" and "it really opened my eyes to how much of an idiot I was being." Is he alone in learning the hard way by getting arrested? No. In fact, according to a December 2011 ABC News report, "by age 23, up to 41 percent of American adolescents and young adults have been arrested at least once for something other than a minor traffic violation."
Henderson followed that same trend, got in trouble and paid the price, but through it all, realized the error of his ways. Hardly the work of the prototypical "bad boy."
Of course, every success story has its ups and downs along the way. In January 2012, Henderson tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and alcohol, and was forced to serve 25 days in jail for violating his probation. Now, we're not saying that failing a drug test isn't bad, however, no one can condemn him for it when schools like Syracuse University are currently getting investigated for a wide-range of issues, including drug-related violations, and the University of Oregon was mired in widespread marijuana usage among students and athletes in 2012. Drug usage on campus is still alive, the coaches and athletic departments just conceal it.
Also, when it comes to campus life, people have ridiculed Henderson for openly speaking about his extra-curricular activities, which include dominating at the beer pong table or getting some, uh, attention from ladies on Twitter. But when did athletes engaging in sex or drinking while in college become so surprising? In this day and age of social media, more and more "private" matters are being aired out for the whole world to see. So, when you're fighting a losing battle with social media, why not embrace it whole-heartily like Henderson? At least we're not being tricked into believing something that isn't true. *cough, Tim Tebow's a virgin, cough*