Montreal rewind: Yogi Ferrell

  • 08/18/2014 2:40 pm in

Welcome to “Montreal rewind,” our player-by-player recap from Indiana’s five-game tour of Canada. Today: Yogi Ferrell. Previously: Nick ZeisloftDevin Davis, Troy Williams.

There’s a strong argument that no player was more critical to his team’s production on a game-to-game basis in the Big Ten last season than Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell.

Much will be expected of Ferrell once again in his junior season, but on IU’s five-game tour of Canada, we received our first look at Indiana’s revamped backcourt and the effect it may have on the point guard of the Hoosiers.

The early returns suggest that Ferrell’s game should benefit significantly as a result of the overhaul.

Over the five games, the Indianapolis native averaged 15.4 points (57.1 FG%), 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 29.4 minutes per game. He was IU’s third leading scorer, led the team in assists and was more vocal than we observed last season.

More importantly, the onus wasn’t completely placed on Ferrell to create shots given the fact that he’s now surrounded by James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Nick Zeisloft, three newcomers that can knock down perimeter shots.

“I love it. It reminds me of high school at Park Tudor when I had a bunch of shooters,” Ferrell said. “So I know if I drive in and they take me away, they are going to be open. But if they take the shooters away, I have the lane. It is definitely fun for a point guard like me because I can find anyone on the court.”

And while Tom Crean has always steered away from naming team captains, Indiana’s coach is clearly viewing Ferrell as someone who can blossom into an extension of the staff on the floor.

During IU’s first game in Canada against Laval while Crean was seeking clarification from the officials on a call, Ferrell stepped in and ran the huddle.

“I’ll give him the huddle and he took it right there to get his team settled in and I love that,” Crean said. “That’s what you want, you want a team of collective leadership, but they have to be able to look to somebody that’s been through it and he has to understand that they need him constantly.

“We’ve got some very confident young men in the program and, at the same time, we have respectful ones and they respect what he’s done, and he respects them. I think that’s what’s going to make this team continue to be cohesive as we move through the season. There’s a high respect level for each other’s talents, and that’s already been shown. Now, building a bond and a chemistry and all that takes time, but the respect level is crucial. I think Yogi’s got a lot to do with that on both ends.”

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  • Gregory Spera

    It’s no secret that Indiana is going to try to win with dominant guard play. Having (arguably) the best point guard in the country is a great place to start. Our smallest player is definitely our biggest advantage over most opponents. One of the few advantages we will have. Still the most important Hoosier, by far.

  • Hardwood83

    Last season was ugly enough- now imagine it without Yogi!!
    With other viable options I think he’ll be a monster.

  • MK

    We need Yogi to be more of a distributor this year and see some of that passing ability he flashed in high school. Not only that but I would love to see more of leadership role from him too.

  • Gregory Spera

    I don’t think Yogi will have any problem being a “distributor.” As a matter of fact, I don’t think he will have to adjust his game much at all. Remember, no matter how great that kick-out pass is, you don’t get credited with an assist if the player bricks the open jump shot or, even worse, disregards the open shot entirely. He could get three or four more assists per game with the very same passes, this season.

  • CreanFaithful

    Well stated. I’ve maintained that Yogi doesn’t have to change his mindset this year. It’s well illustrated in the quotes. They take the drive, he can dish to formidable shooters. They don’t respect the drive, Yogi will burn them. They leave him open on the perimeter, he will shoot over the top. It’s simply the way the offense is intended to work. Take what the defense is giving you.

    The difference ultimately is better conversion on dishes and less reliance on a last second contested shot, with improved ball rotation and overall ability to handle the ball amongst his teammates. That being said, on an individual level, I look for mid range game to improve as well as decrease turnovers.

  • Arch Puddington

    I’ve gotten myself in trouble in the Forum by arguing that thus far in his career Yogi has been good, but not great, but whether you agree with me or not, there is every reason to believe he will emerge as a truly elite PG this year. Given his experience, the quality of his all-around game, and the weapons he will have around him, he can go from being the best player on a bad team to being one of the best players in the country. As with all things he will have to prove it on the court, but after the experience in Canada, during which the Hoosiers showed themselves to be a cohesive and explosive bunch, it looks pretty dang favorable for KevinYogiFerrell.

  • Outoftheloop

    The one sub-par game Yogi had, IU lost. We need Yogi to be consistently great all year long for this IU team to be a top 20 team! Go Yogi!

  • CreanFaithful

    I’m certainly one that has argued the point with you and others. Mainly, because I believe in the skill set, not necessarily in the outcome from a team like we had last year (even those his numbers stack up very well). But the proof is in the puddin’. Pun intended. Should be a great year for Yogi…

  • Ole Man

    Love your enthusiasm, but Yogi is hardly the best in the country. Begin with Marcus Paige at UNC. VanFleet at WSU will have an argument. Keifer Sykes at Green Bay shouldn’t be overlooked. Yogi is an excellent PG and I’m glad we have him; but there’s a lot of competition for the best.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Maybe not the best, or an all American — but definitely one of the top ones in my humble opinion — probably to 5, maybe best in B1G

  • CreanFaithful

    Thus “arguably.” Zero games played…

    Edit: Not being controversial. Just pointing out the way it was phased. Which I find to be accurate.

  • Outoftheloop

    None of those that you mention are clearly above Yogi. A PG is like a QB, it is all about the W’s. But the team supporting him is important. UNC had an average year with great talent at every position. IU with Yogi had a sub-par year with a poor supporting cast. VanFleet had a great year with a once in a lifetime roster for WSU.

  • Ole Man

    Paige is clearly above Yogi at this point.

  • Michael Crawley

    Yogi needs to bulk up a little. This kid is like a super ball compact and retains 97% of his own energy once released good luck catching him.

  • Outoftheloop

    We shall see. UNC is clearly above IU at this point.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Arch and CF,
    I’m in your camp wrt YF: good, not great and with potential to be great…so far not developed. The Yogi-lovers’ don’t want to hear that. I’ll change my opinion when he garners double-teams and help defenders. Regardless of opinions of his status (good/great) I’ll enjoy watching him play. Specifically, I’ll watch for: 1) his on the ball defense (given his quickness it should be pure h*ll to be guarded by him); 2) his ability to drive and pass or shoot. His skills in the paint are underdeveloped through last year (he shoots only what, 32% in/around the paint per an excellent analysis by Alex here on ITH???) but he has the ability to command attention in the lane if he can improve his ability to both pass and finish. Lots of potential in this part of his game; 3) does he let JBJ and RJ and perhaps a few others blossom and lead? I’m particularly encouraged that both RJ and JBJ had numerous assists in the recent games. That’s a real strong positive in my opinion. Also, JBJ stated that he is preparing to play a lot of PG. That’s a strong positive in my opinion.