As Ole Miss basketball stands nervously in the waiting room for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, it's only fitting that the man that chauffeured its last trip to the Dance has resurfaced in the news. Two years after Marshall Madness swept the nation, Marshall Henderson sat down for a Skype interview with Yahoo Sports to give us an update on his hoops career.
He's now playing pro ball in Baghdad.
Yea, that Baghdad.
"I was talking to the Americans [on Al Shurtah] and they had to switch hotels because a car bomb went off and blew up half of their hotel," said Henderson, who's playing in the Iraq Super League. "They showed me pictures. It was crazy that they were telling me the story so calm. That would have freaked me out a little bit. The picture the guy showed me, the room right across from his room was destroyed."
The last time we heard from Hendo, he was playing in Quatar, so the Middle East is nothing new for him. But going from the world's highest GDP per capita to war-torn Iraq can't be the easiest transition.
The former Ole Miss star hears gunshots from time to time in the city. He doesn't leave his Baghdad hotel too often, where working electricity can be a daily challenge. And there are rarely female spectators in the stands at his games.
The fact that gun shots and no chicks being at the games are mentioned in the same list of struggles tells me that this is indeed an authentic Marshall Henderson interview.
Still, Marshall seems to be getting along alright.
"It's not as bad as people make it seem back home," Henderson said. "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."
He's making good money -- $10,000 a month from some team called Nift Al-Janoub -- but still has eyes on the NBA. He spoke candidly about how his drug issues turned most of the Association off after his junior year in Oxford.
"I got a lot of good feedback about being drafted in the second round [after my junior year]," Henderson said. "Then I got in trouble that summer and then it seemed like that was the end of [the NBA interest]. There was really nothing after that. I have to live with that.
"It's been my dream to play in the NBA, 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."
As good as Yahoo's interview was, we think they missed an opportunity to ask the questions we all want answers to (Red Cup Rebellion made attempts to reach out to him for an interview last month to no avail):
- You're developing your basketball game, but are you keeping your beer pong skills sharp?
- How many times have you requested that "Bombs over Baghdad" be played every time you hit a three?
- Has Andy Kennedy contacted you about a joint international conflict resolution summit to bring stability to the region?
- Do you have any concerns that the Rooster Shark is a highly offensive hand gesture in Iraqi culture?