No Madness

Roderick Lawrence and Marshall Henderson don't have much in common.

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Their games couldn't be any more different. Lawrence is an athletic wing who Ole Miss recruited to fill a need at the three. Henderson, who graduated, was a gunner in the truest sense. He shot. And shot. And shot. Most of the time, those shots came from beyond the 3-point line. Lawrence's greatest contribution, at least initially, could be on the defensive end.

Really, one of the few reasons Lawrence and Henderson are being paired together at all is because they both went through South Plains (Texas) College before enrolling at Ole Miss.

Well, that, as well as the fact they're ultra-competitive types, according to South Plains head coach Steve Green.

"I think he's a very competitive individual," Green said of Lawrence. "Even people who don't appreciate basketball will, at the end of the game, say ‘Gah, that kid plays hard.' I think that's his greatest strength. He's a high-level of energy each and every day."

Sound familiar?

Henderson was the face of Ole Miss basketball in his two seasons in Oxford, not only because of his uncanny ability to score points in bunches, but for his colorful, oftentimes eccentric, personality.

Still, don't expect Henderson when Lawrence, who signed with Ole Miss on Wednesday, arrives on campus. The Rebels were 19-14 last season.

Roderick Lawrence
File Photo

"He's a completely different kind of player than Marshall was," Green said. "I've seen some of their kids when they were freshmen when we were out hitting the trail ourselves. Had he come there as a freshman, I think he would have blended in with that group of guys and done well.

"He can shoot the open shot, he can guard a lot of different people and I think he can be used in a lot of different ways."

Lawrence originally signed with Miami of Ohio out of Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla., where he averaged 16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 steals a game as a senior.

Ultimately, he enrolled at South Plains. And in his second year, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard totaled 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game en route to all-conference and all-region 5 honors. He started 34 of 35 games, shooting 39.7 percent from the floor in 31.2 minutes, while knocking down 32.8 percent of his 3s.

He scored 20-plus points three times, leading the Texans to a 29-6 record and the NJCAA National Tournament quarterfinals.

"Everybody can always work on their perimeter shot. I think one thing that will improve once he gets there is shot selection," Green said. "When he shot good shots, he made them. Junior college kids don't always shoot the best shots. I think when he gets there, playing with a lot better players, he'll kind of fall in line.

"He needs to work a little bit on his ball-handling. With an additional year of strength, better nutrition and some things like that, he'll grow a little bit and get stronger. He'll be a good player."

But that doesn't necessarily mean Marshall Henderson.

"(Ole Miss head) Coach (Andy) Kennedy told me he was recruiting me to become a starter, start at the three, and that I'm going to play valuable minutes and be of the leaders on the team," Lawrence, who will have three years to play two at Ole Miss, said.

"He said he wanted to recruit a player who had experience, knowing I played JUCO for two years. I've learned a little bit about the college basketball game and how different it is than high school. I'll be able to come in and play immediately."

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