2013-2014 Player Profile: Yogi Ferrell

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With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we look at sophomore Yogi Ferrell.

Friday’s Hoosier Hysteria, like last season’s, opened with a dance routine. But the front man from the last two Hysteria’s, Victor Oladipo, was in Orlando preparing for his rookie season with the Magic.

That opened up the opportunity for the man who’s being counted on to help lead the 2013-2014 version of the Indiana Hoosiers, Yogi Ferrell, to get his first taste of being the front man in Bloomington.

How Ferrell adapts to his new role once the season tips off a month from today will be a major factor in just how dangerous this Indiana team, one of the youngest in the Big Ten, can become.

As a freshman, Ferrell started all 36 games for a team that won the Big Ten championship and advanced to the Sweet 16. But after a high school career in which he had the ball in his hands constantly and had to score out of necessity when it counted for his team to win, Ferrell shifted to more of a facilitating role in his first collegiate season.

Whether his numbers suffered as a result of that shift remains to be seen, but Indiana will need Ferrell to become much more efficient in several key areas as a sophomore. As a distributor, Ferrell posted an assist rate of 25.7 as a freshman, which was good for eighth among Big Ten players. His turnover rate of 24.5, however, was the highest among IU’s regulars, a number Ferrell would like to improve.

Ferrell did his best shooting a season ago from the foul line, as he got there at a reasonably good rate (37.2 percent) and knocked down 79.8 percent of his attempts. His 3-point shooting was a major emphasis for offseason development as he knocked down just 30.3 percent from distance last season.

Ferrell was Indiana’s second-best perimeter defender last season and as important as his improvements on offense from an efficiency standpoint are, the Hoosiers need him to develop into a guy who can consistently lock down opposing point guards. The talk of a potential drop in offensive efficiency for this year’s Hoosiers is an obvious concern, but a return for the defensive numbers to the pre-Cody Zeller era would be problematic. It all starts on the perimeter and Ferrell must be the leader.

Bottom line: There’s no doubting Ferrell has the talent to make a major leap as a sophomore and for the Hoosiers to reach another NCAA tournament, the sophomore from Indianapolis will need to lead as one of Indiana’s most experienced players. The good news is that early returns suggest that Ferrell’s shot has improved from the perimeter. As a player who needs to establish that part of his game from the start of the season, early success could go a long way in boosting Ferrell’s confidence that he can be one of Indiana’s go-to scorers in addition to its floor general.

Quotable: “The No. 1 thing with Yogi was will he be demanding enough of himself and of his teammates to keep taking steps, because Yogi has got tremendous gifts. He’s got great speed. His shot is definitely getting better all the time. … Yogi has got a chance, because of his ability on the defensive end, his ability with the ball and his ability to shoot and find people, to be really, really good. Will that leadership be demanded enough of his teammates day in and day out? That will be the crux of it.” – Tom Crean on Ferrell at his “State of the Hoosier Nation” speech at the IU auditorium.

Previously: Luke Fischer, Noah VonlehDevin Davis, Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams, Collin Hartman

  • Indiana_Banners

    I haven’t read this article yet but I really, really love the photo…

  • IU Fan 4 Life!!!!

    Kenny Johnson was one of the stars of HH. His team outplayed CTC’s for sure. Watch out CTC, Kenny is coming for your job! Haha

  • Indiana_Banners

    It’s easy to play for the assistant coaches because their role is more picking you up after the head coach does the tough job of giving you a harsh critique. At least that’s how it was for me in HS(football).

  • Indiana_Banners

    Yogi’s defense is going to be huge not only due to the player he’ll cover, opposing PGs, but because of how Yogi needs to help set the tone for the team. He took to man-to-man defense very quickly last year, but I still think he’s got plenty of room to improve there.

    If he can cut his turnovers down, that and sharper defense is already enough to make for a huge sophomore leap.

    But I think he’ll shoot more and be a hair more efficient there as well. I think we’re about to see a big season from Yogi. He has a ton of game.

  • IU Fan 4 LIfe!!!!

    True…But it’s bad when the Assistant Coach out coaches you at HH. KJ had his players ballin’

  • Indiana_Banners

    It’s a scrimmage… wasn’t really much defense going on either way, and shot selection wasn’t as tight as Crean coaches in games… And I don’t think the rosters ended up being that balanced either. Not sure who had Yogi, but with Vonleh out I thought he easily had the best team.

  • SCHoosier

    Yogi can, will and needs to be an all service PG for IU to succeed. However the worst thing that could happen is for Yogi to believe he HAS to be the leading scorer every game in addition to everything else he can provide. With no Zeller down low I think Ferrell will face a little more defensive pressure..so I hope forced shots don’t become an issue. No reason Yogi can’t be all conference this year doing what he does best.

  • CreamandCrimson

    The only reason he can’t be 1st team All-Big Ten is because of a certain PG in Columbus…might as well write his name in ink for that spot because I can’t see the Big Ten media voting for anyone besides Craft in his senior year. They love that guy. He’s very good but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think he was overrated.

  • sarge

    Couldn’t agree more… huge season for yogi. He will set the tone early in the season and lead us to victory when we need him most. I think he will be our best player on the court more times than not.

  • drewheck

    I just hope he doesn’t try to do to much if he does I don’t think it’ll be an every game thing

  • PDXHoosier

    lots of pressure on Yogi to make shots. Hopefully someone else can step up in that department so he can be a facilitator and opportunistic scorer. I don’t think he has the size/shooting ability to be our primary scorer.

  • Rie

    Yeah it all depends if they let him hand check and hack at his opposition… If they actually officiate games properly, then Yogi has a chance.

  • winston smith

    I think Yogi could turn out to be one the best/most beloved Hoosiers of all time. I think his bb iq is through the roof and he continues to learn. He has the work ethic that is needed to one of the best ever. I just hope he plays at least two more years.

    If he goes after this year he will be remembered but won’t crack anybody’s top ten list of favorites. He needs to develop, but if he stays I have no doubt he will. If he stays and plays his senior year…look out!

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I really believe he will stay at least one more year if not two. He will need the experience for the next level for one and as someone else mentioned, if he is expected to shot more, which he will, then someone on the defensive end will be on him like glue each and every game. Which could hold back his numbers but not his bb IQ and dishing the ball to the right player at the right time and he has many options this year.

  • mk

    not surprised to see a down arrow here. Plenty of crotchety old IU fans out there that hate anything that has to do with “hip hop”

  • Ole Man

    Not debating you–just curious as to who you think all these “many options this year” are?
    Last year he had options to pass to, four of them.
    This year?

  • yimyames

    Pretty sure we have a full roster this year. Also, I’ll be willing to bet a few of them know how to score.

    I realize IU lost a huge chunk of offense, but jeez, what do you think, IU will average 40 pts per game now that they are gone?

  • yimyames

    Also, his options are now coming from back to back top tier classes. Put Zeller, Oladipo, Watford, and Hulls all in the same class as freshman and it still isn’t as good as the last two IMO.

    Have faith Ole Man, we have some really good players.

  • Just a fan

    I honestly see Yogi as having more options this year, simply as we NOW have more people who can (and have the confidence to) shoot the ball. Last year Yogi was often faced with only three options for a pass–assuming we wanted to make a basket. If our opponent didn’t have to guard a shooting guard (or Yogi, since he rarely shot) they had the numbers to double team us across the front line. We played four-on-five too many times; Sryacuse exploited it.

  • Worried

    I agree with ole man, Im not seeing these options everyone is talking about. We have two or three good players, and a bunch of inexperienced, unproven players, only one of which looks to be an impact player this year. And im sorry but neither yogi or will strike me as players who can put an entire team on their shoulders like VO and Zeller. Im starting to get the feeling that this is going to be an extremely tough year for IU.

  • Comeon

    Take off the rose colored glasses, our shooting is not going to be half as good as it was last year with the losses of 3 key shooters. We have no automatic shooters on the roster.

  • Jordan

    So… you don’t see will… the one always up in players face, being the beloved asshole he is on the court carry this team? Or Yogi who had a very good freshman year last year? I feel like you’re looking at last years freshman class and expecting the same thing to happen, but the diffrence is this years freshman will be getting the experience they need. Last year the roster was so tight there wasn’t enough room for some of them to get that time in that they needed to adjust. Have some hope bud!

  • Worried

    No i see them as very talented role players. Not players who can lead a young team to success in a crazy tough conference. Just my opinion.

    I think Noah will be an impact player, but I dont think we can count on any of the other freshman to be major contributors. That is based on common sense, not on an assessment of last years freshman class.

    We will be okay, but expectations need to be tempered for next year.

  • TomJameson

    We have a good core of experienced players to motivate the freshmen. Yogi, Will, AE, Gordon … And Jeremy and Hanner probably have chips on their shoulders and I bet are motivated to play (Jeremy for offense and Hanner for defense). Then we have a really great freshman class that are untested at the college level, but have competed successfully in all the post-high school tournaments against all the other highly rated kids. I think we won’t be great at first, but I really do believe we’ll have a great team going into the big dance. And, really hyped about 2014 when all these guys have another year under their belts. !!

  • Earl Scheib

    Man, who knows. Anyway, I love your cautiousness – after last season’s hype it is understandable. I find myself caught between hopeful exuberance and the exact same emotion you feel. I think the best thing about Hoosier basketball is seeing the consistently great, amazing players we’ve always been lucky to have represent us, and always appreciating their hard work and utterly incredible talent. The players are always exceptional and this year’s team is a special one. A bit of a wild card, you might say. But one that will certainly be fun to watch and cheer on.

    As for “carrying a team,” I think Will and Yogi can do that—9-9 vs Purdue, first 9 vs. JMU–so I think I’m going to be glass half full about this team. Let’s hurry up and get into this season already. Go Hoosiers!

  • yimyames

    so they are gonna shoot less that 24% fg and less than 20% from 3, that would be “not half as good”, hmmm….I doubt it.

  • Kyl470

    I agree that Yogi will have less shooters to pass the ball to. However, I do think this team has more athletic players so he might be able to hit some cutters for lay ups and dunks. But I don’t expect his drive and kick out for 3′s to be as effective.

  • Ole Man

    I don’t know how four players averaging double figures and third in the nation in scoring is having only 3 options.
    So, I politely disagree.

  • Ole Man

    70 by years end, IF we really do some growing.

  • Ole Man

    Athleticism helps, but a basketball player it does not always make.

  • Jordan

    Hello yoda lol

  • Hoosier heritage

    Yogi is going to lead the Hoosiers to a national title. Probably not this year, but it’s going to be fun watching his career at IU.

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