Sheehey: Yogi's a different player

Senior Will Sheehey says Yogi Ferrell isn't the same player he was against Syracuse last March. Ferrell was held scoreless with four turnovers in that season-ending loss.

It's no secret Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell struggled mightily in the Hoosiers' season-ending loss to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen last March.

Ferrell, then a freshman, was held scoreless in Indiana's 61-50 loss, going 0-of-2 with four turnovers. In many instances, he looked afraid to shoot the ball against the Syracuse 2-3 zone defense.

It was one of just a few poor performances in an otherwise great freshman year. But because it came in the last game of the season, Ferrell's struggles were magnified.

Luckily for him, he'll get another chance at No. 4 Syracuse on Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.

Ferrell is back for his sophomore season and has been the Hoosiers' most productive player so far this season. Through seven games, Ferrell is averaging 18.1 points, 3.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game.

"I think it motivated him," Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Ferrell. "He's a much different player, he's a much better player."

Senior forward Will Sheehey is the only other returning Indiana player that was a significant contributor in that game a year ago. Sheehey says Ferrell is not the same player he was then.

"Yogi's a completely different player than he was last year. I think he'll be a lot more poised," Sheehey said.

They may not admit it, but Tuesday night's game likely means a little bit more to Ferrell and Sheehey. Syracuse ended their terrific season prematurely last year, and I'm sure they haven't forgotten it.

This time around, the Orange are the favorites.

"We watched a lot of film and made sure we fixed different things," Sheehey said. "We're gonna look at it just purely as a basketball game, not really the emotions surrounding it. Obviously ending your season last year is not what you want to do, but we're going to dive into the film, and we have been, looking at specific things within the game. Not necessarily just the emotional part, but more like the X's and O's."

So what did the team gain by looking at the X's and O's?

"We were very stagnant last year on offense," Sheehey added. "And then on defense, we didn't really contest them the way we needed to and we let them have too many offensive boards."

Boeheim praises Vonleh

There are a lot of outstanding freshmen in the country this nation. So many, in fact, that Indiana's Noah Vonleh is rarely mentioned with the likes of Duke's Jabari Parker, Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Kentucky's Julius Randle.

But Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is a big fan of Vonleh's. Syracuse was a factor in Vonleh's recruitment, and Boeheim continued to speak highly of the IU center on Monday.

Boeheim told Dan Dakich on 1070 The Fan that he thinks Vonleh is the best freshman big man in the country. That would include Randle.

Boeheim also called Ferrell one of the best point guards in the country.


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