Ferrell: “I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity like this”

  • 05/04/2015 9:10 pm in

In order to get the most thorough investigation of his options following the conclusion of his junior season, Yogi Ferrell needed time.

With the help of his father, Kevin Ferrell Sr., and the IU coaching staff, Ferrell gathered as much information as possible to assist him in a pivotal decision: whether to return to college for his senior season or pursue a professional career.

His decision, announced on Sunday, April 26, was to come back to Bloomington for one more year. Ultimately, Ferrell said on Wednesday, the opportunity at IU next season on what should be a preseason top 15 was too much to pass up.

“I felt like I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity like this at Indiana,” he explained in a media availability at Assembly Hall. “Such a great place, I feel like I’ve had the best time of my life here. Best memories, best teammates, best friends. The next level is always going to be one of my dreams and I’m still going to be pursuing that dream and I feel like that dream is still going to be there at the end of the day.”

Ferrell, who has a chance to cement himself as one of the best four-year players in IU history, believes all of the feedback he received during this process will aid him tremendously as he prepares for his final season.

He noted that “maybe half” of the NBA teams he heard from projected him as a second round “at best” had he declared for June’s draft. He also said a couple of teams told him they want to see him “mix it up” as both a scorer and facilitator as a senior at IU.

When all of the information was in and it was time to make the call, Ferrell simply made a list and tried to weigh the pros and cons of both scenarios.

“(It was) just writing down pros and cons of leaving IU or coming back and just sitting down with my dad,” he explained. “Say I left and I wasn’t drafted, I still would have tried to pursue my dream. I was just trying to get every piece of information I possibly could for me to weigh out my options. I felt like this was my best option. This is just a special place and it is just really hard to leave.”

Now that he’s officially back, Ferrell is already looking ahead to next fall in Bloomington.

The Hoosiers will return their top eight leading scorers from a team that finished 20-14 and lost to Wichita State in the NCAA tournament. The coaching staff filled a major hole on the interior with the signing of McDonald’s All-American Thomas Bryant.

Unlike last season where very little was expected out of Ferrell and his teammates, it’s clear that expectations are already building.

The pieces appear to be in place to make a run.

“We know expectations are high. The buzz is already out from just reading a few things,” Ferrell said. “We need to pick things up a little bit quicker. Not really listen to what anybody else is saying. We know how we want to play, we know how we want to produce.”

One thing that could change how Indiana plays next season is the addition of Bryant, who will give the Hoosiers a legitimate shot blocking and rebounding presence in the middle. Bringing in Bryant, as well as Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby, should give Indiana better athleticism, depth and length on the front line.

Indiana finished the 2014-2015 season with the Big Ten’s worst 2-point field goal percentage defense, a number that must improve significantly for the team to reach its potential next season.

“I think with the length we have coming in, that’s definitely going to help us protect the inside,” Ferrell said. “I feel like maybe we can gamble a little more, get more into the ball, maybe press a little more because we’re going to have some inside presence and maybe try to take down that 2-point field goal percentage (defense).”

The freshmen won’t arrive on campus until June, but the returnees have already started to prepare for next season with weight training, conditioning and individual workouts.

One thing Ferrell said he wants to see next season is a team that is able to “click” from the very beginning. After spending last season as one of the Big Ten’s youngest teams, the Hoosiers will be one of the more experienced groups in the conference.

“I feel like next year we can have a really special team with guys coming in and guys returning with a little more experience under our belt,” Ferrell said. “I think we’ll just be one of the more experienced, older teams now.”

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  • ktolly4iu

    Good to hear that defense is being mentioned as major focus

  • cooper

    Glad he is back. Not a big fan of his comment on gambling on defense though. They need to learn to play good defense first.

  • Ms hoosier

    I just hope this team realizes that expectations don’t win games. Hope all these players are hungry to win a championship and work hard in the weight room and on their defense to become a complete bball team!!

  • TomJameson

    I’ve heard it described like that before. Maybe gambling is using the wrong term, but it just means they can press the ball more and not play so far off the ball. If they go for a steal, or press and their guy gets around them, there is a big guy, and good weak-side help- to pick up the slack.

    In other words, not an easy bucket at the rim anymore.

  • TomJameson

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s going to take a bunch of serious work on everybody’s part. Including the returning players, incoming players, and the coaching staff. I hope they play defense with a chip on their shoulders and with something to prove (which they do).

  • Gambling aka agressive. I’m ok with that

  • marcusgresham

    I think the way the past season played out does a lot for setting up that determination. They had initial success and I’m sure they really enjoyed that feeling. Things went a bit south later in the year but I’m hoping they realize success is possible given what has happened and are determined to maintain that success throughout the season.
    I also think the fact that the major deficiency was so obvious (defense) that it allows for a really focused off-season.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    the pieces are in place (YF,JBJ,TW,TB,NZ,RJ,HMP, and of course TP). looking forward to putting these past two years in the past! next season’s going to be fun, and the b1g is going to be intriguing, to say the least. any way we can beat wiscy twice? with all their guys leaving, maybe they don’t have an answer this year for priller?

  • It gets used frequently.. Gambling as in overplaying a little, going for the steal, pressing the other team a little bit harder to try to get the turnover.. I’m ok with that. We really aren’t in a position to tell him what terms to use.. At least I don’t feel we should be.

  • yeah, like I’m sure none of them realize that.. I mean nearly every guy that talked mentioned working hard to get better.. they really didn’t mean it. Where’s the purple font? Even Troy mentioned taking 10,000 3 pointers in practice during the off season.. I don’t think anyone can even question.. these guy’s work ethic.

  • Eric SIr

    Glad to have Yogi back…. those practice jerseys are awesome. Does anyone know if and where to buy one?

  • AssemblyBall

    Let’s be clear that an important part of his quote was this:

    “Mix it up, try not to dribble so much, or force too many things. To just go out there and make my teammates better first.”

    After 3 years did it really take a few NBA scouts to finally tell him not to dribble so much and not force things??!! Isn’t that what we are supposed to be paying somebody $3million dollars to do?

  • crashby89

    Why must people turn everything into criticism? Where would the team have been without Yogi last year? He was phenomenal and will be again this year.

  • crashby89

    Cant wait to see Yogi for one more year. Despite the troubles in the past few years there have been some players in the cream and crimson that will be remembered for a long time and Yogi is certainly among those names. Us fans can proudly say that Yogi has been a true Hoosier and a treat to watch from day 1.

  • AssemblyBall

    Make no mistake: I am not criticizing Yogi at all.

  • crashby89

    My comment extends to Crean as well. Crean and the staff have shown many times that they can develop players. Last years team played better than many expected despite its defensive and size issues.

  • TomJameson

    Exactly … being aggressive with the defense. I like that, and if everyone plays their parts it could be very exciting to watch.

  • ManovSteelo

    Good for Yogi. He has had a nice overall career, to-date, but nothing legendary. Not sure of he can become NBA-ready in a year, though, given his game, but it’s worth a try.

  • AssemblyBall

    The D-league is for developing players. College basketball is about winning championships. Maybe Crean should be coaching the Ft Wayne Ants. Last year’s team defense ranked 212th.

  • crashby89

    Seriously? The ability to develop players results in wins. Ask Pitino who regularly takes lesser heralded recruits and turns them into great players. Do you think IU would have even made it to the sweet 16 if Oladipo didn’t develop as he did? I could go on for days about how wrong your statement is but I get the feeling that you are the type who cant be reasoned with.

    As for defense yeah IU was terrible. A huge part in that was that often our biggest player on the court was Troy. Suddenly IU now has not only more size but also much better depth when it comes to size. Look for a big improvement this year.

  • cooper

    I’d rather them focus on playing good half court D. When they can’t play defense on half the court not sure trying to play defense full court is the answer

  • TomJameson

    When I said aggressive defense I wasn’t talking about pressing, I was talking about half court D. That said, I would like to see a soft press almost all the time, it takes away time from the other teams offense, and helps keep them from getting into their set offense … throws them off a bit. But I’d like to see that soft press turn into a hard press once in a while to surprise the offense and create possible turnovers.