Another twist in the story of Ferguson

In a move that he first hinted to me last week in Akron, Ohio, Dominique Ferguson is leaving Lawrence North.

His father, Deon, told the Indianapolis Star Wednesday that Ferguson will enroll at Hargrave Military Academy for his senior year.

What makes this story so interesting is the fact that Lawrence North coach Jack Keefer just continues to throw insults and accusations at the people around Ferguson, namely Dr. James (Doc) Dye, who runs the SYF Players organization.

When I called Keefer on June 12, the day after Ferguson was a no-show at the Indiana Seniors vs. Juniors All-Star Game in New Albany, he referred to SYF as the “mafia of the AAU” and told me I had to call Dye to find out why Ferguson was not there. Keefer said Dye was the one with a hand in Ferguson’s pocket, and knew what was going on.

Keefer was at it again Wednesday, telling Indianapolis sports talk radio host JMV that Lawrence North was better without Ferguson, that he was pulled out of classes (including at least one final) he needed to go play in AAU tournaments this spring and that Ferguson is a good kid who is being used.

Well, then. This is certainly not your father’s Indiana high school basketball.

It should be noted that while Ferguson, who rescinded his commitment to Kentucky when Billy Gillispie left, lists Indiana, Arizona, Florida, Louisville, Texas, Duke, DePaul and Tennessee among the schools interested in him, he only has offers from a few schools. Indiana is not among them.


  1. Because some metaphors shouldn’t be taken lightly, “Dye was the one with a hand in Ferguson’s pocket.” Wow. Dangerous stuff.
    (Not to be confused with Jibreel Black’s “I want to be the Michael Vick of Indiana.”)

    I figured the situation was heading south (literally & figuratively) when @DFerg23 said:

    the state of indiana has tlkd so bad about me these last two months just because of a “jr” allstar game tht i didnt play in bc i was hurt…
    9:25 PM Jul 4th from web
    i guess when you think your close to making a break for good ppl always try to shoot you down bc of their own opinions even in my own state?
    9:26 PM Jul 4th from web

  2. The last time I posted anything somewhat in defense of this kid, I was accused of not being a true IU fan and generally being a moron. So all I’ll say here is that Mr. Keefer’s anger is directed at his AAU handlers, not the player himself. That said, if he’s so down on the state of Indiana and IU fans in particular, we should probably stop worrying about him, he’ll go elsewhere.

    All of that said, I can’t say as I wouldn’t like to have him at IU. If he came in and made problems, he could be encouraged to transfer; if he fit in with the team, he could really help.

  3. I don’t think we need a head case who is being used by his AAU handlers. Also, as a program IU can’t afford to have guys coming that may or may not fit and then be encouraged to transfer(as was mentioned above) if they are the idiots everyone thought. We have APR issues and the transfers are only going to add to that problem, potentially causing us to lose schollys in the future. We only have 3-4 scholarships to give the next 2 years so needless to say we can’t afford to lose any or give them to potential idiots.

  4. Can posters here please stop referring to Ferguson as a “head case?” You’re talking about a 17 year old young man who is in a position most people will never have to be in – being recruited by all-star coaches across the country, traveling non-stop and playing in AAU tournaments, and having different influences manipulate and push/pull you in various directions. You never know what his background was like or who this kid really is, so please stop with the insults and judgements.

    If he was committed to IU right now, everyone would be trying to justify these things in his favor. To those who act this way, please stop with immaturity in your posts. You tear apart high school kids from the comfort of your living rooms all in the name of winning a couple basketball games.

  5. I don’t want a 17/18/19 yr. old head case at IU who doesn’t understand that academics and team come first. If he were committed, which he isn’t, I’d be concerned. CTC is smart enough to know a problem child when he sees one and hasn’t offerd and won’t. It’s the people who want to give these kids a pass that allow them to continue to believe they are above the fray and act like idiots. Read the articles, he’s a poor performer in the classroom and the gym as a teammate. His dad should’ve done what any good parent would do; kick him in the butt and not let him play ball until his academics and attitude improve. However, the enablers react by moving him to an athletic factory instead of getting his grades in order so he can qualify. He’s got a bad attitude and that makes him a head case. I’d rather be 6-24 than embrace people who aren’t interested in anything but themselves. Defending people who are like this shows immaturity and ignorance. It also shows a desire to do nothing but win, regardless of whether it’s good for the overall health of the program. In the several years prior to CTC, IU’s had nothing but me first attitudes(including the coaches)and it’s left us in an awful position. NO MORE HEAD CASES!

  6. IUKyle94, you totally missed the point of my post. It’s not that I think any of your points or reasoning is flawed – in fact, I’m not commenting on that at all. Like you say, CTC not offering Ferguson obviously shows a reservation on his part about something. You may be right that it’s academic, personal issues, etc. However, it’s the senseless insults and throwing around the word “head case” that just makes me feel sad for you as well as for Ferguson. Sad for you because you clearly don’t know how to communicate constructively and said for DF because that label is something a 17 year old kid should never have applied to himself by an anonymous fan who doesn’t know all the facts.

    When I was 17, I sure know that hearing that would affect me. It would only make me defensive, but not want to change. Same for you – people don’t react to insults and labels, they react to constructive criticism done respectfully. Maybe your points are right, but be more constructive.

  7. I have no need to be constructive. Anything I say as a fan and graduate of IU should have no bearing on DF’s self-esteem or decisions. I think there’s more to life than hoops and believing the world revolves around you. I knew this when I was 17 and the sooner DF figures this out the more successfuul he’ll be. He is 17 and his dad should be in his ear giving constructive advice and making sure he’s performing off the court as well as on it. It’s pretty obvious to me that these things are not happening. BTW, sometimes communicating effectively/contructively is calling a goat, a goat.

  8. Its all a big mess and displays the seedy side of high profile high school basketball. Nobody looks good and the adults don’t seem to be able to guide Ferguson in a way that benefits him most. This episode shows us the importance of strong family leadership.

    Coach Crean is recruiting kids (Like William, Morgan, Carlino, Zeller, Plumlee, et al) that have strong coaches and families behind them. This should yield great results on and off the court.

  9. MichaelF is saying what I was trying to say–that it’s premature to judge this kid. We really know very little about him. What you read in blogs and newspaper articles and recruiting sites doesn’t get to the real person. And the real person here is being pulled in many directions by people who may/may not have his interests at heart.

    That said, IUKyle is right, we don’t need kids who’ll come in and transfer. I hadn’t factored the APR issue into my first post. So I think it would be okay to have him join the program if and only if the coaching staff is firmly convinced that he’d fit in, remain eligible and stay in school. If they can’t make that conclusion, looking elsewhere would probably be wise, and the fact that Crean hasn’t offered a scholarship is a good indicator of where they’re leaning in that regard as of now.

  10. To echo Eric’s sentiments, is it not possible to be hopeful that Ferguson doesn’t come to IU without also bashing him as a human being?

    He’s reportedly got attitude issues, and I’d say someone with attitude issues is more likely to transfer than someone without. Thus, I feel that if this were an ordinary year, IU might be able to afford that risk, but because of the current academic issues, I don’t feel nabbing someone like Ferguson would be a smart call.

    However, let’s be serious. IUKyle94, what 17-year-old isn’t at least a decent bit self-centered? He’s 17! He just got his driver’s license. Girls are talking to him. Everyone around him tells him how damn good he is at basketball. Most teens are self centered and have attitude issues as it is, but factor in his circumstances and it makes it a lot more complicated. Understanding that doesn’t equal being an enabler; it means being realistic. And concerning your assertion that what you say does or should have “no effect on his self-esteem or decisions” is obviously proven wrong by Ferguson’s remarks about Indiana fans making these disparraging coments about him. It DOES affect him, and you’re lying if you claim that you would not have been at all discouraged at age 17 if you were bludgeoned with negative comments about your character or your intelligence or your attitude. Hearing those things certainly doesn’t help. And if you think players don’t take into account the fan base at a school when deciding where to go, you’re mistaken again.

    I highly doubt you were a mature, selfless man at age 17. Let’s not trash someone who’s not even legally an adult yet, and who none of us knows much about.

  11. Like I said above, giving guys a pass on their behavior because they’re 17 is exactly what allows them to be arrogant and self-centered. When I was 17 I DID KNOW the world was bigger than me. If anybody who knew this young man was counseling him about these issues, he wouldn’t be crying about what’s being said by some idiot on a message board. If, when I was 17, my grades and attitude were poor my parents, speicifically my dad, would have put a boot in my butt until things improved and I wouldn’t have been allowed to play ball. In this case the enablers simply move him someplace else because it’s just too hard to qualify academically. That is not being realistic, it’s being an enabler. 17 year old kids need guidance. They do not need to be told by adults how great they are and shuffled from one academic institution to another when things don’t go their way. Anybody else want to lecture me on the fragile ego and pshye of 17 yr. old kids?

  12. IUKyle94,

    You’re not being lectured. I just think it’s presumptuous of you to assume that you know the ins and outs of the situation and the best ways to fix it, what caused it, who’s at fault, etc.

    And I don’t think anyone’s proposing that he be given “a pass,” as you put it. I think the point that’s being made is that adults who think it’s appropriate to rag on a 17 year old in a public forum need to realize that it’s not entirely appropriate or mature to do so.

    The learned maturity and discipline that you speak of acquiring in your teenage years doesn’t show through when you refer to a young person who is still developing as an individual and a man as a “head case.”

    No one is saying “let him do whatever he wants,” in these posts, but rather that the teenage life of a prime time high school recruit is a lot different than the average high school student’s path, and that a proper perspective and understanding of that fact is needed before you make blanket statements about his character or make value judgments on whether his parents raised him properly. I just think you’re making a lot of assumptions that aren’t really possible without being on the inside of the situation.

    “17 year old kids need guidance.” — I agree with that.

    But I think you’re being a little too black and white about a very grey situation.

  13. Casey, you are lecturing. And it’s really not a grey situation. The kids dad admits he wasn’t going to make the grades by staying at LN so the response is, move him someplace that’ll make sure he’s eligible. That’s enabling and not setting a good example so maybe I should of called his dad a head case instead of the kid. However, in my experience the apple never falls far from the tree and if the adults around him continue to coddle him he’ll be head case in the future. I’ll let you have the last word, but I will say this. Based on your last post we shouldn’t discuss or have opinions on anything outside of our own lives because we aren’t on the inside. I simply disagree. The information regarding this situation has been made public and the conclusion that I draw is the kids getting no guidance and making poor decisions. These things will will lead to lifetime of bad decisions.

  14. You can discuss whatever you’d like, and you can certainly hold an opinion.

    All I’m saying is that no one knows the whole story, and a 17 year old shouldn’t be subject to such strong ridicule and criticism from people twice his age.

    Yes, he’s transferring to Hargrave. But at least he’s taking steps to get into a college one way or another. I’d rather see him playing college ball a year from now, as opposed to bagging grocieries somewhere.

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