Offseason storylines: The evolution of Yogi Ferrell

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Welcome to offseason storylines, a look into some of the biggest storylines surrounding the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Next up, we tackle this question: How will Yogi Ferrell’s game evolve as a sophomore?

As a freshman, Yogi Ferrell, was, outside of Cody Zeller, the most scrutinized player on Indiana’s roster. The expectations in Bloomington going into last season couldn’t have been higher. And many eyes were fixated on Ferrell to see how he would integrate himself into a team that was already established as one of the nation’s best.

It’s always difficult for a freshman to adjust to the college game. It’s faster, far more physical and for Ferrell, there was a major adjustment in the role he would take on. For the bulk of his AAU and high school career, the ball was in Yogi’s hands and he was asked to make plays. It was a successful recipe for the teams he played on as Park Tudor went to three consecutive state championship games, winning two, and Indiana Elite won at a high level in various spring and summer events.

But in his first season in Bloomington, Ferrell was mostly asked to be a facilitator, a role in which he posted an assist rate of 25.4, good for eighth in the Big Ten. Beyond that, the rest of his offensive numbers were meager, which isn’t a knock on Ferrell but more of an endorsement of just how elite Indiana’s offense was.

The circumstances will change significantly when the 2013-2014 season begins. Ferrell won’t have the nation’s most efficient big man in Cody Zeller to find for six points in 52 seconds like he did last March in Ann Arbor. Victor Oladipo won’t be on the wing waiting to make a play off the dribble. And Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls won’t be hanging around the 3-point line looking for a pass.

That’s not to say Ferrell won’t have other, viable options surrounding him next season — he will — but they certainly will not have the experience or in some cases, the talent last year’s group possessed. Which leads us to wonder: How will Ferrell’s role change next season? Will he take on more of a scoring role? Or is Indiana best served with keeping Ferrell as its facilitator and not asking him to score more?

If Ferrell’s efficiency numbers (105.3 offensive rating, 45.3 effective field goal percentage per KenPom.com) as a freshman are your guide, you can argue that it might not be a good thing for the sophomore to look for more offense. Of IU’s regulars a season ago, his effective field goal percentage was the lowest.

But you can also argue that Ferrell’s shooting percentages will be on the upswing with an offseason of working on his jumpshot as well as getting more regular shot attempts. When you’re the fifth option on offense, it’s not always easy to get in any sort of rhythm.

“I have been mainly working on my jump shot this offseason. That’s one of the things I know I need to do better with,” Ferrell said last week. “I feel a lot more confident coming back because I know what to expect this year, whether it’s practices or games.”

For Ferrell to maximize his productivity next season, there are two key areas he’ll need to improve upon. First, Indiana needs him to become its best perimeter defender. With Oladipo moving on, Ferrell needs to lead the charge of containing dribble penetration on the perimeter. What, you might be asking yourself, does that have to do with his offense? If Ferrell can create more turnovers and opportunities to score in transition, it’s a good bet he’ll score more and become more efficient. As a freshman, Ferrell scored just .88 points per possession in transition according to Synergy Sports, a mark well below average nationally.

Second, his midrange game must improve. Indiana’s offense is pick-and-roll heavy and Ferrell scored just .75 points per possession as the ball handler in pick and roll situations last season (per Synergy Sports). Being able to knock down that shot with consistency will force defenses to play Ferrell tighter and will give him more of an option to get into the lane and either finish or create for others.

Just as there was last season, there will be an adjustment period for Ferrell. He’ll be surrounded by seven newcomers and will have tendencies of new teammates to learn all over again. His role will also evolve from a player who mostly facilitates into a player who scores more and does so efficiently. How quickly Ferrell is able to strike the perfect balance between facilitator and scorer will play a major factor in Indiana’s viability as a Big Ten contender in 2013-2014.

Previously:

· What kind of season will Sheehey have?
· Will Indiana have a stronger bench?

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Hope Yogi comes back this season with floaters, teardrops & off hand finishing moves at the rim…his quickness has allowed him to get to the rim at all prior levels… has to adjust to small man finishing shots that will help back off defenders and allow him to knock down a few jumpers this year.

  • marcusgresham

    How much Hanner Mosquera-Perea improves may have some bearing on Yogi’s offensive production. Yogi should be expected to be more productive at getting into the lane this year, where he had some trouble last season. As the most athletic player on the team (or at least the one who’s most likely to be hanging around the rim,) HMP stands to benefit from Yogi getting to make the decision to either shoot a floater if left open or to pass a floater if someone comes off his man to stop penetration. If that person is guarding Hanner a pass anywhere in the vicinity of the rim should result in a thunderous two points. That, of course, is contingent upon Hanner having improved enough to log substantial minutes (and to have improved his hands enough to complete the play.)

  • guest

    I watched a lot of Yogi’s game playing in the University Games. The difference between him becoming an all american and a third team and big team performer will rest all on his jump shot. This year and over the summer I saw Yogi create an amount of space where a confident shooter could nail jump shot. Often times he would gain just enough pace from his defender where he couldn’t drive on his man( because of his lack of size) , but would keep moving down the lane. If you watch Yogi play he tends to get himself on the baseline with no where to go because of his inability to shoot a jump shot.
    Another thing Yogi needs to take care of this season is his play calling. Last year it was very evident that whenever Hulls was out of the game no one on the team knew where they were going( I’ve heard TC calls multiple plays out of timeouts and the players barely have time to register where they’re supposed to go).

    I’m convinced he’s the quickest guard in the country but he needs to improve his ball screen reading. He often times just keeps crossing over and the big men are left confused if he is supposed to role or keep his position.

    I will say last year Yogi was a very underrated defender. He did a great job on TH Jr in the game at IU.

  • Kyl470

    I think Yogi was an underrated defender last year. He did a good job of applying on the ball pressure and didn’t let defenders blow right past him. I think his role with the team will always be a facilitator. I could see him having some good scoring games early when they play weaker teams, but once Big Ten season starts he needs to have a pass first, drive second, and shoot last mindset.

  • Big D

    I think Yogi will be great in 85% of the games. My concern is the other 15% where he has to guard a GOOD 6’5″ guard that’s smart enough to take him to the basket. And those 15% may be in the tourney! And will CTC make the change when needed.

  • Gregory Spera

    Without question, Yogi’s continued improvement is vital to Indiana’s success this season. He must advance from the all-freshman team to the all-conference team for IU to have a chance in the B1G. IMHO, Ferrell is the key on both offense and defense. With so many new faces on the court it will be his job to sort it all out when the ball is in play. No pressure.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I really believe, not just because I am a die hard IU fan, that both Yogi & Will Sheehey will make the leap to greatness this year. The experience overseas will have a positive impact both in their games and in their confidence. They can step from beyond the shadows of Victor, Jordan & Cody and command leadership based on their experience and their work ethics. I can’t wait to see it all happen!

  • SCHoosier

    I think Yogi will handle the defensive challenge. (Big strong penetrating guards may be a problem) He will be our best FT shooter (so with the clock winding down he should head to the hole and not just fire up the 3). Yogi has the athletes playing with him who can be deadly in open court IF IU plays D..get’s TO’s and hits the boards…Yogi will get them the ball. My concerns are still potential turnovers..leaving his feet on passes (which he did a few times in the World games resulting in TO’s)…and feeling like he always has to take the 3 in a critical situation. He has the courage to do it…I just don’t think he has the shot. Hopefully Yogi’s pull-up will improve this year.His half court patience will be important with this young team..cause..much like last year..if you make these IU thoroughbreds trot instead of run..a good “team” has a good shot to beat them.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    Micheal Williams Carter

  • unclekerfuffle

    I don’t want to draw a comparison to another IU PG that wore #11 but I remember Zeke saying that he always considered his primary job was to get his teammates involved and scoring. If that didn’t happen, then he would start shooting. That always made sense to me.

    With the talent surrounding Yogi over the next few years, a pass first mentality would probably be a good way to think on offense, Of course, he has to keep the defense honest by consistently hitting the jump shot when passing is not an option.

  • David Macer

    He is not a Jordan Hulls type defender. More like Damon Bailey.

  • Shawn Congo

    He can guard larger offensive players.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    Anyone else want to see the chrome and crimson candy stripe helmets for football this year ?

  • CreamandCrimson

    “And will CTC make the change when needed.” Okay, let’s say we happen to be playing another 6’5″ point guard in the NCAA Tournament. Who do you want playing point guard? You want Crean to make a change in this scenario so if Yogi isn’t playing point guard, who is?

  • skotchie

    Yogi is and does need to be a facilitator first, hello thats what a point guard does. He simply does not need to force plays. He is quick enough to get to the rim when the defence gives it to him, he’s a good enough shooter when left open to knock it down.
    Playing his game at his pace should easily get him double digit scoreing and close to double digit assists per game.
    Stanford Robinson or Devin Davis should easily be able to step in for defensive purposes when necessary against a bigger point guard.

  • Big D

    That depends, if we have told Yogi it’s your position, you’re the one who will run the team, if we have played Yogi most of the year and not let someone else get experience at that position, then we have no choice. And we will make it no farther then the sweet sixteen.

  • b_side

    Tell that to Louisville and Michigan who started 6’0 point guards (Siva and Burke).

  • CreamandCrimson

    Of course it’s Yogi’s position. He is the returning starting PG of the defending Big Ten Champions. Who else on the roster do you think should be cutting into Yogi’s minutes? Evan Gordon? Stanford Robinson? Yogi’s not going to play 40 minutes a game but I think this team is going to be better with Yogi on the floor than they will be when he’s on the bench.

  • ScoopGeoff

    Thought the comment in the story about Yogi’s defense being paramount was correct, but under-developed. He needs to keep his man in front of him and out of the lane, but from there you went to TO’s… They don’t really go hand-in-hand. We need him to create pressure and keep their primary ball-handler out the lane to disrupt offense and force either bad shots or hurried shots at the end of the clock. If he does his job then our rebounders should be in excellent position, they should make a lower %, and we should be able to rebound and run out.

    Basic premise here is that its way easier to create 10 more missed shots per game and 8 more defensive rebounds than trying to create TO’s… I mean you’d be lucky to add 2 over the course of a game.

  • IUMIKE1

    Not only do I agree with your last paragraph, but it is something overlooked in many aspects a lot of the time, IMHO. TO’s are great and a team needs as many of them as possible but, as you say, the others are not only easier to create, but more likely to happen. Those things can also lead to easy buckets just like a TO. Plus Yogi keeping his man (who will usually be the one on the other team with the ball in his hands more often than anyone else on the opposing team) in front of him increases the chance of putting into motion a scenario that leads to a TO.
    Excellant point IMHO.

  • SCHoosier

    I don’t care what they wear if they have a defense that can actually stop somebody. (Have to admit they are pretty cool though)

  • Dave Carnes

    I have no problem with his ability to guard his guy. It is his shooting that scares me.One day he is terrific so the next game the ball comes to him more and he can’t shoot.Look at the University games he was the hero the first two games then let down under pressure.

  • IUMIKE1

    Totally agree and think he would not disagree with us. Inconsistency is the first word that comes to mind when his shot is mentioned. It’s the main thing keeping him from being able to fully utilize his biggest asset in driving & dishing. The other team is going to back off of him even more this year until he proves he can make them pay for doing it. If his shot continues to be as inconsistent as last year we may see more of someone else as the year progresses, especially in certain situations.

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