Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, November 9, 2012
He dipped, he dashed. He dished, he drove. Yogi Ferrell is good. Really good. That?s what I took away from the wunderkind?s college debut. The line: 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field, 0-for-1 from 3-point range, 4-for-4 from the line. He also had five rebounds, six assists and just two turnovers.
After seemingly hearing about Ferrell for months, we finally got to see him in Crimson and Cream. And this much is apparent: Ferrell will speed up the Indiana attack.
He can push the ball with his extra gear, which will make the Hoosiers a dangerous team in transition this winter. And, let?s be honest: Aside from Victor Oladipo, Indiana wasn?t overly athletic last season.
The speed Ferrell displayed in his debut also will help with Indiana?s on-the-ball-defense. His quickness from side to side is evident, watching him pick up the dribble and pressing the ball handler the length of the court during a first-half possession.
But there were more snapshots of future greatness that followed. Check out this random sample from the first 20 minutes:
- Ferrell drove to the hoop and finished with a high kiss off the glass, twisting his body in a bizarre way.
- Ferrell charged from the arc into the paint and dished to Cody Zeller for a slam dunk. It was a thing of beauty-and something Indiana opponents should expect to see a lot of this season. Think of how devastating this simple play is.
- Ferrell showed a nice shot, draining a first-half jumper from just inside the arc after giving a deft pump fake.
- Ferrell showed passing savvy on several occasions, once skipping a pass across the lane to Will Sheehey for an empathic slam dunk.
- Then, right before halftime, Ferrell pulled up from 15 feet, dribbled between his legs and drained a jumper for his 10th point of the half.
And on it went on this night against an overmatched school called Bryant, which had no answer any of the Hoosiers-and Ferrell in particular in a 97-54 victory that had the crowd rollicking.
So, how do you defend Ferrell? Get up in his grill, and he?ll drive by you. Play off him, and he?ll pull up for a jumper.
Good luck with that, Big Ten guards.
Ferrell arrived at Indiana amid great hype from tony Park Tudor High in Indianapolis. Every school in American wanted the 6-foot jet. Why not? He brings an element of quickness and athletic ability to the Indiana backcourt which it hasn?t seen too often. He reminds me of former Indiana great A.J. Guyton, who was a cat-quick, 6-0 guard who could drive and shoot. And, of course, Ferrell reminds many of Isiah Thomas, wearing the same No. 11 jersey as the former Hoosier great who led Indiana to the 1981 national championship.
Is Ferrell the next Isiah? It obviously is way too early to make those comparisons. But this was a nice debut for the freshman who will be fun to watch and develop for the nation?s No. 1 team.
|BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.
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