ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla on Yogi Ferrell’s draft stock

  • 04/14/2015 11:00 am in

Indiana junior point guard Yogi Ferrell will announce whether he’ll return to college for his senior year or enter the NBA draft on April 25, a key decision that could drastically alter the outlook for the Hoosiers in 2015-2016.

His return likely means Indiana is a consensus top 15 team in the preseason and a viable contender in the Big Ten. His departure, however, would leave the roster without a definitive option at point guard and without its leading scorer.

ESPN college basketball and NBA draft analyst Fran Fraschilla, who covers the draft as diligently as anyone, told Inside the Hall on Monday afternoon that the depth of prospects at the point guard position could hurt Ferrell’s chances of being selected.

“It’s one of the deepest point guard drafts I can remember in a while,” Fraschilla said. “And that necessarily doesn’t bode well for Yogi. When you look right at the top with D’Angelo Russell and (Emmanuel) Mudiay and you just work down from there, there’s six or seven potential first round picks that are point guards. Right off the bat, he’s behind the 8-ball.”

ESPN.com currently rates Ferrell as the No. 85 prospect overall in the class and just the 17th best point guard prospect. There are 60 picks in the draft and only first round picks receive guaranteed contracts.

Fraschilla said that Ferrell is smart to explore his status and make an informed decision based on the feedback he receives, but added that right now he would summarize his stock as anywhere from a team liking him in the early to mid second round to potentially going undrafted.

“I happen to think he’s a very skilled and talented college guard,” he said. “He’s got great heart, he’s a shot maker, he seems to have a great work ethic, good teammate. These are the things I’ve observed from watching him over his career. I think at this point right now, he’s a marginal NBA prospect. It doesn’t make him a bad player, it doesn’t mean he can’t make it in the league some day because there are 450 spots.”

One factor that Ferrell may be contemplating is whether he can significantly alter his stock by returning for another season. As a 6-foot point guard, a rarity in today’s NBA, his size is one of the biggest factors working against him and that isn’t going to change.

However, the exposure he could receive if he were to lead Indiana on a deep NCAA tournament run as a senior is something to consider, according to Fraschilla.

“I can’t tell you that his stock will improve dramatically if he comes back unless potentially Indiana wins big and he’s a reason that they get to the (NCAA) tournament and go far,” Fraschilla said. “I don’t know that there’s much he can necessarily do physically because he is who he is. He’s a small, scoring point guard. He’s got some explosiveness, but he’s certainly not in the range of a Damian Lillard or some of the explosive little guards in the NBA.”

Indiana has had three players leave early for the NBA in the last two years and all three ended up in the lottery. Victor Oladipo was the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft and Cody Zeller went No. 4. In last June’s draft, Noah Vonleh went No. 9, but spent a significant portion in the NBA Development League.

That’s not going to be the case with Ferrell if he declares, but Fraschilla said that Tom Crean will make sure he has the pertinent information to make his decision.

“Coach Crean is extremely well connected in the NBA,” Fraschilla explained. “What’s gotten Tom to the level he’s at as the coach at Indiana is that he’s always been a guy who has asked a million questions of people he feels can help him as a coach and his program overall. So through the years, he has incredible relationships with tons of NBA people.

“In a situation like this, I’m sure he’s reaching out and talking to people and asking what they think, finding out what scouts think and I’m sure he’s going to give Yogi very good, accurate information. It may or may not be what Yogi wants to hear and then he and his family have to evaluate the risk-reward of coming out, gambling on getting drafted versus going back to college for a senior year where he has a chance to continue to make his mark.”

More than 30 underclassmen have already opted to put their names in the 2015 draft, which suggests that there will again be a significant list of players who will go undrafted and end up in the NBA’s D-League or overseas next fall.

Fraschilla believes the gap between even the highest level of college basketball and the NBA is larger than most realize.

“The one thing I tell people all of the time about college basketball right now and people are beginning to realize this, the Big Ten, the Big 12 and the ACC, it’s the equivalent of Double-A baseball compared to the major leagues and the NBA,”  he explained. “There’s a big gap between being a really good college player and being a NBA player, a legitimate NBA player that stays in the league. Yogi is not unlike a lot of guys who are having terrific college careers, but it may not necessarily translate to the NBA. In other words, he’s hitting .320 at Double-A. But that doesn’t mean you stick a guy who is hitting .320 in Double-A and put him in the major leagues. That just doesn’t happen.

“There’s a fail factor there among guys that get drafted even who were really good college players because the level of play in the NBA has just increased to the point where there’s a big gap and that’s where Yogi finds himself right now. He’s a very good college player and he’s trying to determine whether his skill set can translate. At this point, I don’t think it translates right now as a junior, it could be that he goes undrafted and plays in Europe or plays in the D-League and then all of the sudden he’s 25 or 26 and he’s continued to work and he finds himself on a team. He’s not as much of a longshot to play in the NBA as some might think, but I just don’t think his draft value is particularly high at this point.”

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  • marcusgresham

    I think the cause for hope with a large jump in improvement defensively is that two of the main players will no longer be freshmen—not only is that a year of experience, it’s a year to get stronger.

  • marcusgresham

    I don’t think he had any care about exchange rates; he was simply using a creative means of stating that he doesn’t see Yogi landing in the NBA next season.

  • Dooteetime

    Right now Yogi is not a ‘true’ PG. He is more of a shooting PG. He needs to get better at distributing the ball and learning not to dribble around so much at times. I have always said Yogi is a very good college player but his game and size do not translate to the next level. I see Yogi playing in Europe when his days at IU are over. Hopefully, that will not be for another year!

  • Jim

    burnout…it’s a job at the college level…Johnson faded because it’s more basketball than he ever played before, he got there in June and it’s non-stop…happens to lots of Freshmen…next year he knows what to expect, he likely doesn’t tail off…good player with the potential to get much better…as for Ferrell coming back, it’s good for Indiana if he does…if he showed himself to be a better defender and passer next year it could help his NBA stock some…the reason most rookies don’t play much in the NBA is they have to play defense or they don’t play at all…Ferrell wasn’t a good defender last year…even if he made an NBA roster, which is unlikely, he isn’t playing unless that improves…

  • ForeverIU

    He is concerned that Yogi would not be paid in “American dollars if he leaves”. There is no other way to interpret this other than the “American dollar” being the only viable currency. Sorry, but it shows lack of awareness of Yogi’s international options. His point about the NBA is another matter, and I didn’t comment on that particular aspect of what he was saying.

  • marcusgresham

    Or maybe he’s predicting Yogi to the Raptors 😉

  • JerryYeagley23

    No offense to you, and you might be on point about AI’s character, but didn’t the man win an NBA Most Valuable Player award? Hard to question his ability to finish around the rim and toughness when he’s pulling down that kind of hardware

  • SilentBob

    Yes the one year he went to the finals. Then the dumby pretty much forced Larry Brown out a few years later. Though I’m sure that doesn’t bother Larry much. He won a title with the Pistons shortly thereafter without a player half as talented as Iverson. No doubt Iverson individually was an amazing talent besides his awful shooting percentages. He won that MVP because the NBA is about entertainment and they reward their best sellers from time to time to keep things fresh. I mean if they rewarded the true MVP every year only Kobe, Shaq, Duncan, and Lebron would have won it since Jordan’s retirement. That’s boring. That’s why Durant, Rose, Dirk, and Steve Nash have all won. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone.

  • Kyl470

    If his goal was to play professionally in Europe then he could of done that straight out of high school.

  • Eugene Debs

    Jay Edwards’ failure in the NBA (and the reasons he left IU) had nothing to do with bad advice. He failed drug tests, smacked around a female, and more drugs. Lots of drugs.

  • IUMIKE1

    Recall Crean saying that the refs told him that he wasn’t getting the call a lot of the time because they felt like he was jumping into the defender and initiating the contact as opposed to just going straight up agianst the defender and extending the ball out away from the defender to where the defender had to cause the contact to get to the ball. Not saying that’s wrong or right, just putting out there what Crean had said about the subject.

  • IUMIKE1

    Totally agree, that’s how he gets his NBA ticket punched. We become a much better team with him doing this as well IMHO, which gives us a much better chance of making a deep run in the post season, which in turn helps his draft stock. Win, win for everyone if he comes back and does something along those lines.

  • IUMIKE1

    Just to kinda piggyback on my other reply, he could help himself when it comes to offense if he would develop a floater, to show that he has something to help offset his height a little bit, and become better at finishing at the rim. Plus, while CTC may be ok with his jump out of bounds and then find somebody to pass to, I don’t think that’s the type of thing that scouts mark down under the plus column.

  • IUMIKE1

    Anybody that believes that he doesn’t help his draft stock enough to be a first round pick if he leads IU to a title is kidding themselves, lotto pick, probably not, but it pretty much assures him of being a first rounder. If IU would happen to win a title next year and Yogi is there leading the team, being a first rounder will happen because IU doesn’t do that kind of thing without Yogi doing what makes the scouts check the right boxes to make it happen.

  • ManovSteelo

    Sure; I’ll buy that argument, especially since there’s precident for it in Shabazz Napier. After thoroughly outplaying Yogi last year in the 2K Sports Classic Championship Game, Napier went on to be MOP of the Final Four … and was drafted 24th by CHA. He definitely deserved better, but at 23, I’m sure his age worked against him. And for Yogi, if he were to do the same, it would probably turn out similarly, given that he would also be 23 by draft day. And that’s a best-case scenario. But since we both know it definitely ain’t gonna happen, Yogi is still stuck deep in the 2d … if he’s lucky; D-League or overseas, if he’s not. So we shall see on 4/25. If he leaves, then no need for me to watch IU next year; if not, then at least I’ll get one last go at wearing my Yogi tee and candy stripes for each televised game next season, and hope he finds a way to put it all together spectacularly in his farewell tour.

  • IUMIKE1

    “If he leaves, then no need for me to watch IU next year”, granted it could create some issues for IU next year, but isn’t that kind of a defeatist attitude to have before you even see what will happen with us as a team overall if he leaves ?

  • ManovSteelo

    Not at all. I’m not the only one who would rather not see Rob Johnson run the show next year in Yogi’s stead. Ferrell’s the most talented point at IU since Isiah; RJ is probably a little better than Dane Fife.

  • dwdkc

    Forgot about all that and only recalled the first impression (going pro–say what??). Right after my first kid was born, memory hazy from sleep deprivation

  • BC Hoosier

    I agree with the assessment of Yogi’s strengths and weaknesses, but no way there is 16 better PGs in front of him. Tyus Jones just declared and is a 20ish overall prospect. Similar size and when you start to comparing their games, Yogi is better in most areas.

  • If he’s smart, he’ll stay-put. He isn’t NBA stock, nor will he ever be. I think people believe because a player is MVP of his team that he’s therefore NBA-ready. Neither his skill set nor his size translate to that level — not to mention that he’s totally unable to play defense — the most critical factor. I question his ability to help us win the B1G, much less go deep in the NCAA.

  • David Macer

    You misunderstood what I was saying. Yogi will stay because of CTC. Yogi is as loyal as the day is long toward Coach Crean.

  • David Macer

    That is correct Forever !!