MovementWatch: Park Tudor’s Yogi Ferrell, Trevon Bluiett

I heard had plenty of good things about Park Tudor’s point guard and IU’s top-rated recruit in the 2012 class, Yogi Ferrell. Last night, I caught the first round of the Marion County Tournament, pitting Ferrell’s Park Tudor team against Lawrence North, a team that boasts West Virginia commit Eron Harris and Purdue commit Basil Smotherman. Include Park Tudor’s Trevon Bluiett (an IU target) in the picture, and you have a whole lot of Division-1 players on the floor at one time.

But of all those players, Ferrell was easily the most impressive. One play in particular stood out to me. At the top of the key, Ferrell stared down Harris, who was easily Lawrence North’s most capable defender, and began to drive. First, it was a fairly devastating crossover. Then, a tight spin around the bucket, followed by a tough layup to go. But the most impressive aspect of the play was what happened after. Ferrell hustled back to midcourt and drew a quick charge on Harris, which changed the game’s momentum.

Not many players have the focus and calm on the court to do that. Ferrell is clearly special in that way.

He finished the game with 26 points – 16 of which were in the first half – three assists and two rebounds. He pulled up and hit four 3-pointers in the first half and probably would’ve scored more if Lawrence North hadn’t slowed the pace down as much as possible in the second half. It was one of Ferrell’s better games this season, as Park Tudor moved on, beating Lawrence North late.

Ferrell did struggle from the free throw line to start the game – he was 2-of-5 in the first half – which obviously frustrated him. But just as the second half was about to began, Ferrell wasn’t doing drills with his teammates. He was practicing free throws. And it helped in the end, as Ferrell hit two clutch free throws to close out the game.

As someone who hadn’t seen Ferrell in-person, it seemed to me that his offensive game was its best when he could drive, allow the defense to collapse in on him, and dish out to a teammate on the perimeter. He seems better at this now than anyone currently on Indiana’s roster, and with the rest of the Hoosiers at his disposal, his teammates will hit at a better rate on those kickouts.

Still, his dribble penetration is college-ready, and he’ll surely add a new dimension to Indiana’s offense in that way, as only Victor Oladipo is as capable of a dribble-driver.

Defensively, Ferrell is undersized, and that might be an issue sometimes against bigger point guards in the Big Ten. Park Tudor operates almost 100 percent out of the 2-3 zone, and that kept me from evaluating Ferrell in one-on-one situations. He was laterally quick enough to guard Harris and Smotherman on the perimeter in the zone though, and there’s something to be said for a point guard who’s quick enough to guard the 3-point line out of the 2-3 zone.

Trevon Bluiett fed off of his teammate quite a bit in this game and became a force in the second half after starting out very slow. While Ferrell played the entire game for Park Tudor, Bluiett sat some of the first half – he was fairly ineffective on offense, missing more than he made.

Bluiett scored 14 points in the second half though to finish with 17 and did a much better job at creating his own shot. He’s got length and athleticism is there, but there’s still some polishing he needs to do on both sides of the ball. He was outplayed by Smotherman and Harris at times – more so in the first half – and seemed a bit slow at times. His intensity picked up in the second half though, and there were stretches that he looked like he would take the game over.

He looks to project as small forward, I would assume at 6-6, and if he’s going to play the 3, he’s going to need to do better at defending on the perimeter. Against Big Ten competition, I’m not sure he would’ve looked as dominant.