Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Florida takes on the SEC's most interesting player on Saturday. But on the court, he's something the Gators have seen before.
A point guard who gets emotional, shoots deep threes, drives wildly, and gets his points inefficiently? Mississippi's Marshall Henderson is all those things, and will be trying to score a big win for the Rebels on Saturday in Gainesville against Florida (7 p.m. Eastern, ESPNU) by being just who he is.
But, apart from that emotional bit, Florida's familiar with all the other things: They were Erving Walker's traits, and Walker was better than Henderson is.
Walker, Florida's all-time leader in threes made entering this season before Kenny Boynton passed him up, and Henderson, who has taken 218 threes already this year, both like to shoot from deep, and both do so often. But Walker's worst year found him connecting at a 34.7 percent clip from three; Henderson's 34.9 percent rate this year is an improvement on a woeful 33.5 percent rate posted at Utah in 2009-10.
Walker was much shorter than Henderson, and not as good a driver as a result; he shot well under 50 percent on twos for his career. But Henderson shoots just 47.3 percent on his rare two-point attempts (he chucks almost three threes for each two-point shot), which is not exactly sterling for a 6'2" point guard.
And Walker, it should be noted, was a far better point guard, with better assist rates and totals throughout his four years. Henderson's good about not turning the ball over, and creates more for himself off the dribble, especially by creating contact, but Florida's liable to have success neutralizing that. Not only are Scottie Wilbekin and Kenny Boynton fantastic perimeter defenders, they do all their work with only the rare foul, and taking away Henderson's best weapon — he shoots 85.3 percent from the line, so a shooting foul on Henderson has a much higher expected point value for Ole Miss than an actual shot — would be very helpful.
Henderson's not the biggest threat to Florida — Mississippi's three-point defense, sixth in the country and predicated on lanky players extending Andy Kennedy's man defense out to the line — but he's the one we'll hear about all night.
That is, unless the Gators (and Wilbekin and Boynton, specifically) make him a little more like Erv was by keeping him quiet.
I'll be at this game, so comments won't happen and tweets will be rare, but feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments; I'll answer them when I get home.