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Friday March 28, 2014 Marshall Henderson hops on Gators bandwagon

Updated: 4:19pm, March 28

Marshall MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Our post-game stories from Florida’s 79-68 defeat of UCLA were filed around 2 a.m. local time, so GatorZone colleague Scott Carter and I began making our way back to the UF team hotel when we decided to duck into a bar for nightcap.

Yes, there were one or two still open here.

The place was called Local, on Main Street, and there were a handful of folks still hanging out. Scott and I joined good friend Pat Forde, of Yahoo!, and watched some hoops highlights, chatted with the bartenders and some patrons, when a guy and his girl wandered in and caused something of an immediate buzz.

Welcome, Marshall Henderson.

[Of course, we took advantage of the photo opp]

Decked out in his Gator shirt, the Ole Miss shooting guard had come to Memphis for the game, had great seats right behind the CBS crew and fellow gunner Reggie Miller, from where he did the Gator chomp and cheered on his Southeastern Conference brothers as they advanced to the Elite Eight.

Henderson raved about Florida -- “Love the way they play” -- and had nothing but great things to say about Scottie Wilbekin. Henderson brought up the 25 he had in a loss at Gainesville last season, flashed a humongous championship ring from his MVP performance in beating the Gators in the 2013 SEC Tournament title game, and reminded us that he hung 22 on UF and that defense in the first half when the Gators and Rebels played at Oxford last month.

Me: “And none in the second half.”

Again, he credited Wilbekin and a UF defense that played far better in its zone defense and turned his 23-footers into 28-footers.

All and all, nice visit with a guy who may have been a lightning rod the last two seasons -- and a Florida foil, for sure -- but now he’s on the Gators bandwagon.

Hop on, Marshall.

There’s plenty of room.

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