Notebook: Ferrell’s balanced role

  • 10/16/2014 3:53 pm in

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The story goes Kevin Ferrell’s mom nicknamed him “Yogi” as a child as an ode to Yogi Bear, the Hannah-Barbera character with a similar voracious appetite. He certainly lived up to the nickname last season, eating up 25 percent of Indiana’s possessions in a year the team starved for any kind of offensive production.

But as the preseason first team All-Big Ten selection enters his junior year as the team’s longest-tenured leader, he’s due for a reinterpretation of the nickname and a role change on a squad with more shooting and playmakers. The root word of Yogi is yoke, which means “to unite” or “join together”. After a disappointing 2012-2013 season where the Indiana Culture struggled at times, Ferrell is in line to do just that for these Hoosiers.

“That’s how I feel like I have to start off each game, being more of a facilitator,” Ferrell said late Thursday morning. “I feel a lot more comfortable, I feel like now I can balance my game out a lot more. So I’m definitely going to try and find these guys more. And once they take them away, I’m going to try and score myself.

“What I want to focus on is not turning the ball over so much. I want my assist-turnover ratio to be a lot higher. I want to have one of the highest ones in the league. So watching some film, seeing what I do here wrong. Not making jump passes. Not trying to force.”

Indiana coach Tom Crean also said he’s looking for Ferrell to cut down on jump passes this season, and talked with him about setting personal goals for statistical percentages.

“I think he’ll end up being one of the best defenders in the country,” Crean said. “Yogi is tremendous when it comes to setting a tone for tenaciousness.”

The Ambidextrous Robinson

Stanford Robinson’s decision to switch from a left-handed jump shooter to a right-handed one has been met with both humor and and head-scratching.

But his coach and point guard see the logic in it.

“He always struggled with his right hand as his guide hand,” Crean said. “And his hand would always open up so he could never get a proper angle on the ball. And now his guide hand — and that’s really where you tell it, it’s not where your shooting hand is, it’s your guide hand — doesn’t affect the ball.”

Added Ferrell: “Stan was just joking around and shooting and his form I promise was better than his left hand. That’s pretty much all he’s been doing since spring, shooting with his right hand, and it’s looking pretty good right now.”

While Robinson’s jump shot may now derive from his right hand, Crean said the goal for Robinson is to be the best two-handed player he can be.

“I feel like he should still be able to shoot with his left hand because that will throw the defense off,” said Ferrell. “So that could work to his advantage.”

The Evolution of Williams

Crean re-iterated Thursday that Troy Williams has gained five inches on his vertical. He also said he’s put Williams at point guard in practice at times.

“His athleticism continues to skyrocket,” Crean said. “I think harness is the key word … I think any time you let an athlete get away with being an athlete, he’ll never be as good of a basketball player. Any time you let a basketball player not feel like he’s got to improve as an athlete, then he won’t be as good. In Troy’s case, it’s vision, it’s slowing the game down. He’s very smart. I think he gets in his own way at times … He’s never seen what it’s like and how good he can be the simpler he can make it. We’re going through that right now.”

Ferrell said Williams — who said Monday he hit 10,000 3-pointers this offseason — has been getting extra shots in before practice with assistant coach Tim Buckley and that he’s doing a better job of keeping his head up with the ball in his hands.

“He’s got that range now,” he said. “It’s just another weapon to work with.”

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  • Alford Bailey

    Not worried about Yogi one bit. Glad to see Troy has improved that jumper. Stan changing his shooting hand still blows my mind.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    I love that they, including CTC, are all working to be an epic team on the path to be the best they can be individually. Put them all together and watch out . . .

  • IUBizmark

    Say WHAT?
    “Crean re-iterated Thursday that Troy Williams has gained five inches on his vertical.”

  • mckillio

    If he’s anything like myself, I totally get it. I write right handed, throw left, bat right, left footed, two forehands in tennis (I switch hands). My freshman year of high school I switched from shooting right handed to left. I imagine he was just so good with his left that it was never questioned whether he was better with his right.

  • airnel48

    “Not making jump passes.” Hallelujah. Hoping this team avoids that strategy like the plague.

  • oldiugymnast

    I don’t know enough about shooting to comment, but I can say that coaching gymnastics – I have had kids change their round-off from left to right and vice versa because they naturally twisted a different way than they were doing their round-offs. In that case, it is all about which eye is dominant (and some kids have very week eye dominance). While I don’t think this is the same thing or anything, I can certainly understand how a kid with a low level of limb or eye dominance could be shooting with the wrong hand and not even know it. I am really impressed with the level of detail and that even in college Stan can relearn something like shooting hand.

  • AnonymousDave

    Yea that’s crazy. Does anyone know what that officially puts his vertical at? I’ve never seen an official measurement for his vertical but I imagine it has to be insane.

  • Ole Man

    Please, CTC, no more experiments with forwards playing out of position at PG. Here’s hoping that’s just a practice exercise–
    signed:
    A concerned IU fan.

  • IUBizmark

    Jeremy is that you?

  • Gregory Spera

    Reminds me of that video of Hanner swatting away a basketball hanging 12 feet in the air. If Crean can just turn these guys into basketball players.

  • AnonymousDave

    Right? It’s going to take some time. Hanner didn’t grow up with the game and I read somewhere on this site that Troy didn’t start taking the game seriously until high school. If/when these guys become fundamentally sound then watch out.

  • TomJameson

    I’m sure everybody agrees with that sentiment, lol but CTC mentioned getting ALL his kids comfortable handling the ball. That’s probably just one way to do it.

  • TomJameson

    Wonder what Hanners vertical is?? Anybody know off hand?

  • TomJameson

    That’s the first thing that really leapt out at me, both Yogi and CTC mentioning it must make it a focus. Either way, I’m not worrying about Yogi at all

  • CreanFaithful

    Disagree. I understand where you are coming with from JH, but Oladipo, although smaller than Troy is a better example. During VO’s sophomore season CTC started inserting some iso plays at the top of the key for VO to simply out “athletisize” his defender. It had some limited success that season, but we all know how it worked in his Junior year.

    Turn back to last season. Late in the season, TW saw those same iso plays. Not a ton of success, but as CTC commented at the time, he had finally showed in practice that it was a play worth inserting. Expect to see it more this season after more development and an injury free left hand.

    And PLEASE keep in mind when these players refer to playing some “point” they are alluding to initiating the offense – not being a primary ball handler. Personally, I can’t wait for the dividends this will play…

  • ForeverIU

    I read that it was Will Sheehey who initially suggested to Stan that he had a more natural right-hand shot, and CTC agreed.

  • Ole Man

    ROFL! Now that is funny!

  • SCHoosier

    I’m wit u bro! I know Troy has improved ( I hope).. but how many one dribble travel TO’s did he have last year? With all the guards this is an idea meant only to stroke a players ego IMO.

  • SCHoosier

    Nothing wrong with the designed play you referenced but that’s a hell o f a long way from acting as a point guard.

  • Cut down on jump passes…hey there is an idea

  • TomJameson

    Yeah, good points. Especially the last one about initiating the offense vs being a primary ball handler. I think this is going to be an exciting team to watch!

  • TomJameson

    You know, looking only at how both Yogi and CTC brought this up like they did, I believe that has been discussed between them before. It’s not like they read this forum and said, “hey there is an idea” LOL They do watch a lot of film.

  • Hoosier Taxidermist

    Correct! That’s an idea that should have come after the first jump pass in middle school. Looking for big things out of Yogi this year again. Go Hoosiers!!!!

  • Hoosier Taxidermist

    Hilarious. Best post on this page.

  • KmanCRK

    yeah that was my only “oh no” moment from this article. Although, I do recall thinking Victor was our best option at PG his Soph year because he wasn’t a good shooter, but could drive and create for a group of great shooters. maybe with all of our good shooters that is what they are thinking…but that doesn’t mean I necessarily agree.

  • KmanCRK

    Even though the polls and media don’t seem to be jumping on the hype train, I’m getting very excited to see what this group of guys can do together. I love hearing how hard they are all working and how well they are gelling together. This could be somewhat similar to 3 years ago when we weren’t given much credit preseason but kept surprising people and beat 3 top 5 teams that season.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Ryan: Nice article, but while each may be considered veracious, I think you meant that they had voracious appetites.

  • Thanks, we made the fix.

  • IUMIKE1

    Just got through commenting on the B1G Media thread that that was my favorite part of Yogi’s interview. lol Glad to hear Crean saying it as well.

  • HoosierGrampy

    🙂

  • Outoftheloop

    This is Yogi’s team to lead to the promised land of a Sweet Sixteen or beyond. He has the NBA as a realistic goal. He needs to be “the captain” like QB in the “old days”! He has much greater offensive talent than Quinn did. But can he become the unquestioned leader and a guy who refuses to lose? Have a greater year than last year Yogi, we know that you can do it!

  • Outoftheloop

    If IU has the All-B1G PG in Yogi, and the great talent of Troy, James, Robert, etc., the only question is can Hanner, Devin, Emmitt and Jeremiah hold their own in the paint? This could be FUN!

  • Outoftheloop

    It should be but it isn’t. Great talent in HS play leads to this error, because you can get away with it. Even the US under 17-18 World Champs did it all of the time!

  • Outoftheloop

    But you have to admit that if Troy could master those PG skills he would be a top 5 NBA pick!

  • Outoftheloop

    Not really. The NBA is now a “ball-screen, roll” league on offense with the kick out for the open 3. It is hard to stop!

  • Outoftheloop

    And the 2015 recruiting class is shaping up a lot like Oladipo and Sheehey’s class: great, undervalued, hard-working, incredible athletic talents, who can play basketball!

  • Hoosier Taxidermist

    Your right. Different ballgame at this level in the toughest conference in the world.