Observations on Yogi Ferrell at the McDonald’s All-American Game

Forgot to request credentials for the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago until it was too late (and by that I mean, when we were driving back from Atlanta) so watched Park Tudor point guard and Indiana signee Yogi Ferrell in the game on TV like everyone else. Some thoughts and observations.

— Ferrell had a game-high eight assists, and his court vision was pretty much phenomenal. Obviously, it’s easier to pick up assists when no one is attempting to play defense, but Ferrell found shooters and cutters with ease and drew in the defense off the dribble-drive. A wrap-around dish to Baylor commitment Isaiah Austin was among his highlights as well as a nifty bounce pass on a backdoor cut to an easy layup. Ferrell has always been known for his ability to make it easy for his teammates to score, and he lived up to that on Wednesday night.

— Ferrell showed astounding speed with the basketball and was seemingly operating with an extra gear beyond even the uber talented players he was dealing with in a game that is all about fast breaks and dunking. It’s not easy for a player to stand out for his speed in such a game. Ferrell did.

— Ferrell finished with just three points, struggled to get anything to fall and even missed two foul shots. This is an aberration. Ferrell’s a very good but not great 3-point shooter. Percentage wise, imagine him somewhere between 38 and 42 percent from beyond the arc. In Indiana terms, better than Victor Oladipo. Not as good as Christian Watford. Obviously, nowhere near as reliable as Jordan Hulls, but still effective.

— Speaking of Hulls, one of the big position questions Tom Crean and the Hoosiers have heading into 2012-13 is what to do with Ferrell and Hulls, the incumbent point guard. ESPN analyst Jay Williams, the former Duke point guard and Chicago Bulls draftee, said just before tip-off that he expected Hulls to be moved to shooting guard. Crean weighed in on Twitter immediately thereafter with his first thoughts on the topic.

“Come on Jay!” he said. “We can play multiple point guards. We can do a lot of things next year.”

It should be pointed out, obviously, that Hulls often shared point guard duties with Verdell Jones and even Victor Oladipo and Remy Abell this year, sometimes alternating who brought the ball up.

18 comments

  1. Not sure if anyone caught Jay Williams also saying at the very end of the game that Indiana should be the favorites to win the Big 10 next season

  2. Does anyone else see Hulls morphing into a Alford-type player? Run him off of baseline screens to get an open 3. Sounds good to me.

  3. Todd, I see that. Hulls is more of a scoring guard than a point guard. He played the point this year out of necessity. But with Yogi zinging the ball all around the court, Hulls will be free to be a scorer more than he was this year. As I mentioned in another post, Yogi had some drive-and-kick plays that specifically reminded me of what I saw from the Hoosiers this year, except that Yogi is more a natural at distributing the ball. So yes, I can see Hulls playing more of a scorer’s role next year than this year.

  4. I got to see all three of the Indy-based 2012 recruits play live this season. Patterson and Hollowell are good, but Yogi is special. I think he’ll be on a lot of fan’s “greatest Hoosiers” list by the time he’s finished in Bloomington.

  5. Todd- yes, I completely see Jordy morphing into that type of player. I have visions of him becoming that once-in-a-decade short white guy that tears up the NCAA and shoots the lights out, like JJ Redick and Jimmer from BYU.

    On the whole we all have reason to be really, really, really excited. Really. Did I say really?

    The only thing I am saddened by is the possibility of losing Remy. Any other year I would dub him my favorite player to be on the watch for.

  6. I love that he is only 5’11”. If Yogi were 6’3″ we’d only have him for a year. At 5’11” he’ll need to show a lot to get into the League.

  7. Yeah, does anybody know the status on the commits and how long they plan to stay? If we can keep yogi and zeller for 2 years we have to be favorites for the big ten and possibly the national championship.

  8. I agree Todd. Yogi will be the ball-handling guard and defend against the opposing team’s point guard (unless the guy is 6’5″) next year. Hulls will modify his role and be the primary outside shooting threat. No way a player of Yogi’s talent sits the bench or is a back-up for a year. I don’t care how good Jordy is, Yogi brings what IU needs to be even better.

    It should work well for IU next year. IU’s improved depth at guard will allow each of these two young men time to rest during games so that IU can maintain a higher level of defensive pressure on the perimeter throughout every game.

  9. What I saw in a game where team offense and defense was a “pretend”. His passing prowess is astounding in two dimensions, he anticipates simultaneous positioning of both the passing target and the defender’s reaction to him, not many have that innate vision or thought process. Personally I saw Bird possess it, in fact Larry once told me on a puddle jumper flight that he felt his passing threat allowed him to get off his jumper (not sure how many inches Larry actually got off the court) much like how defenders back off dribble drivers. Ferrell’s flaw is that he often passes in the air, better prepared teams and athletes will cause problems going forward. That said he is pass first even when he is near the rim. Defensively the three games I have seen him he is exceedingly passive, not sure whether that is by direction or design or his inclination. At IU I would hope he is able to apply defensive pressure on the perimeter that is disruptive to the offensive scheme. He will need much more upper body strength and he better have a dependable 20 foot spot jumper available. He is raw, and I see him working his way into playing time, changing the tempo of IU’s offense though against Big Ten and high quality non conference teams I don’t expect a Hulls/Ferrell back court in long time intervals unless IU goes zone.

  10. What type of defense would we have in the backcourt with hulls and Yogi? Hulls is basically null and void as a defender against talented guards. With Yogi only being abou 5’10” will they just shoot over them at will? How about Yogi and Vic in the backcourt with Hulls giving a big jump off the bench. That would be awesome. Oh yea what about a guy named Creek where does he fit in. MMmmm Mmmm So much talent what a great problem to have.

  11. Doug,

    90% of the games IU will play next year the issue that you bring up will NOT be an issue. Most teams we face do not have 2 above average penetrating guards, or 2 guards that are the focal point of the offense. Hulls was very capable this year of chasing shooters.

    I wish my other post with the starting backcourts for the best teams we played was in the this thread… It isn’t overwhelming talent for Jordy to cover.

    The luxury that IU will have next year is we’ll have several combinations of guards that can play and be extremely effective defensively when needed.

    Dipo, Yogi, Abell, and potentially Patterson, Creek, and Hollowell.

    With those 6 you either have good size and length, or exceptional quickness and athleticism, or both.

    The other luxury IU has next year that will help all the guards (but especially Jordy) is more rim protection behind them. Cody willy be a year stronger, and probably get a lot of respect from the refs because he was such a solid player and position defender this year. He can afford to be slightly more aggressive with shot-blocking because he won’t be as desperate a piece to their success. There will be guys like Perea and (occassionally) Jurkin back there to alter shots as well.

    As I’ve stated MANY times this year, and proven with tape breakdown, Jordy was not abused on defense the way people claim he was. On the couple occasions he was beaten off the dribble this year there was very little, if any, help at the rim.

    All that changes next year.

    Congrats to Marquis Teague. I hope they are enjoying this now… I can already see the lines and worry and regret building in Calipari’s face as he knows the sh!tstorm that’s coming in the next couple years from the NCAA…

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