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September 1, 2014

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Utah’s Marshall Henderson: The Mountain West’s newest villain

1:14 mark - Henderson punches Emery

Click to enlarge photo

UNLV guard Tre'Von Willis and Utah guard Marshall Henderson chase down a loose ball during the second half of a Jan. 16 Mountain West Conference game. Utah won the game, 73-69.

For UNLV fans, a 73-69 loss Jan. 16 at home to Utah was pretty easy to forget. Sitting courtside, though, I stored the name Marshall Henderson away in my memory file for future reference.

Why?

Well, that night, the Utes' lanky 6-foot-2, 175-pound freshman guard looked like, well, an immature freshman.

I'll give the kid credit, because he hit a bevy of 3-pointers, and each one was more difficult than the last. He finished the night 5-of-13 from the field — 5-of-9 from 3-point range — and scored 15 points in 38 minutes. He also had two rebounds, two steals, no assists and three turnovers.

But what was more memorable were his antics.

After each three he hit, his right hand was left up in the air for, oh, at least 10 seconds. His mouth never stopped. Then, as the Utes approached the scorers table after landing the upset to shake hands, he looked up into the stands, slammed his chest three times with his right fist and yelled 'That's what the ****'s up!'

'Wow,' I thought.

That's why what happened this weekend when Utah traveled up to Provo and got spanked by BYU came as no surprise.

Henderson, who on the season is averaging 11.5 points per game for Jim Boylen's club, will be suspended for Utah's upcoming game against Colorado State after he punched BYU's Jackson Emery in the closing minutes of Saturday's game.

The punch can be seen at the 1:14 mark of the embedded video.

Based on what I've seen so far this season, I'm dubbing Henderson as the Mountain West Conference's new resident villain.

Now, there's nothing wrong with that, in my opinion, as long as you can be something other than a loud-mouthed enforcer, which Henderson certainly can. He's a lethal 3-point shooter and will be a big-time scorer in this league for a long time.

And there's nothing wrong with holding your hand up after hitting treys or running your mouth.

But punching someone? Well, luckily for Henderson, who appears to be as physically threatening as a box of Kleenex, he unleashed his left fist against BYU's Emery, who happens to be about as mild-mannered as Kleenex.

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