The AAU season, still in its infancy, has already been good to Yogi Ferrell.
Playing a year up with an Indiana Elite team that includes fistfuls of top-level Division I talent, Ferrell has slotted in nicely at point guard, giving him the opportunity to showcase his skills in a more natural role. According to his father, Kevin, early returns have been positive.
“It’s definitely been beneficial for him,” Kevin Ferrell said of the move to the Elite team that includes touted in-state prospects like Cody Zeller, Jeremiah Davis and Austin Etherington. “It allowed him to be able to open up his game a little bit more.”
In no small part because of that improvement — and a trip to the state finals with Park Tudor as well — the younger Ferrell has seen his recruitment accelerate in several directions as well. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan have all become serious suitors of the 2012 point guard, according to his father.
One team whose interest still isn’t quite measurable yet, however, is Indiana. The Hoosiers have extended a scholarship offer, but Kevin Ferrell said his son hasn’t heard that much from the IU camp compared to the aforementioned schools.
“There are other schools who are, and have been, really recruiting Yogi very exclusively,” he told Inside the Hall. “I’m not real sure that IU wants Yogi, just right now. I don’t know.”
Ferrell said that, when his son visited Notre Dame, he met Jack Swarbrick, the athletic director, an example of the (excuse the pun, please) full-court press the Irish have been employing in recruiting his son.
Ferrell made it clear that neither he nor Yogi felt any animosity toward Tom Crean or IU, and the elder Ferrell even went so far as to say he’d love for his son to stay just an hour away from Indianapolis for college.
He was also quick to praise the new practice facility, Cook Hall, that IU just opened last month. According to Ferrell, the financial investment involved has sent a signal that Indiana is ready to match its tradition on the court with top-notch facilities and opportunities off it — likely the message Tom Crean and Indiana were hoping to convey.
“It kind of tells me that, you know what, IU wants to be back on the map,” he said. “There are so many programs who are trying to build new facilities and use those facilities to try and recruit new guys. When you’re local hometown hero does that, it kind of says, ‘We’re serious.'”
There’s still obviously plenty of time for Ferrell to explore his options. For now, he’s reaping the rewards of playing for a team his father said lacks egos and concentrates only on winning, a trait sometimes hard to come by in AAU basketball. As for fulfilling a father’s wish, and keeping Yogi close to home when his high school career finally does come to an end? Time will tell.
“His junior year, do I expect IU to step up to the plate?” Kevin Ferrell asked. “I would like that.”