Former Ole Miss star Marshall Henderson has continued his career in Iraq after failing to generate interest from NBA teams.
Henderson, who signed last month with Nift Al-Janoub in Baghdad, Iraq, gained national attention for his play with Ole Miss during the 2012-13 season. A brash, polarizing personality, Henderson gained infamy for his trigger-happy style of play and ability to score points in a hurry. During that season, he averaged 20.1 points per game while shooting 38 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range. The Rebels made a run to the third round of the NCAA tournament that year, upsetting Wisconsin in the first round behind 19 points from Henderson.
But Henderson, 24, had also struggled with substance-abuse issues since high school. During the summer of 2013, he was caught in possession of cocaine and marijuana and suspended for the first three games of the 2013-14 season. As a senior, Henderson averaged 19 points per game and shot 35 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range. He was later passed over in the 2014 NBA draft.
"It's been my dream to play in the NBA," Henderson said. "To be close and to think that a couple of decisions that I made harmed me from getting the necessary looks this past summer, that hurt."
[daily_cut.college basketball]Henderson initially struggled to land offers from overseas teams before signing short contracts with Italian teams Orsi Derthona Basket Tortona and OpenjobMetis Varese. He then headed to Qatar and signed with Al Rayyan SC, eventually playing on the 2014 Arab Club championship team and earning MVP honors.
Last month, Henderson headed to Iraq to play for Nift Al-Janoub. According to his agent, Andre Buck, Henderson's salary exceeds $10,000 per month.
"It's not as bad as people make it seem back home," Henderson told Yahoo Sports in a Skype audio interview last week. "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."
According to Yahoo Sports, Henderson plans to spend the offseason in his hometown, Dallas, and will try to land a NBA summer league invitation.
- Mike Fiammetta