Ferrell beginning to realize his potential

Indiana junior point guard Yogi Ferrell will have to lead the team this year. Tom Crean says Ferrell is beginning to see what that means.

Individually, it was a strong sophomore season for Yogi Ferrell. His numbers were solid. He averaged 17.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game on 41 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Ferrell torched Michigan for 27 points on 10 field goal attempts. He put 30 more points on Illinois in the Big Ten opener. He looked to be becoming one of the best young point guards in the country.

But basketball is not an individual game. And as a team, Indiana didn't have nearly as much success. The Hoosiers failed to make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT after being bounced in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament by Illinois.

Just a few weeks later, Ferrell would be arrested for minor consumption of alcohol and attempting to get into a bar with a fake ID.

Despite his strong individual numbers on the court, it became clear Ferrell still had some growing up to do, and he needed to do it quickly.

So far this offseason, Tom Crean says Ferrell is making strides.

"He's starting to grasp what he's capable of," Crean said on Tuesday. "And I don't think he's even grasped what he's capable of on the court yet and I know he's showing flashes of it. It's really easy to point to him in anything that we're doing, this is how you do it, whether it's getting over a screen, whether it's the way you run the break, whether it's the way the ball moves in practice and drill to drill. That's a big, big thing for us.

"So his leadership is emerging. It's ongoing like everybody else's. He kind of epitomizes our team. We're kind of talking about him like he's a senior and he's really only going to be a junior."

Crean said Ferrell is now benching 245 pounds and has become a true "force" in the weight room. The junior point guard will undoubtedly benefit from the number of new perimeter shooters the Hoosiers will put on the floor this season, but those shooters will benefit from Ferrell's ability, too.

"I had a gentleman in this league tell me that his team -- they had polled their team on some different questions about the season, and he said, when it came down to the hardest matchup in the league, to a man, everybody said the hardest matchup for them to deal with was with Yogi," Crean said. "I haven't even told him that yet. We want people across the country saying that when they run into him. And he's working towards that. The keys right now, that he become as great of a lead guard in the sense of, do multiple things but make others better constantly.

"Offensively for himself, the vision is getting better. He's always had very good vision but he's more aware, even though we have not played a lot as a team. He's working on finishing his length and strength and being even a better finisher around the basket. He's developing a step-back. He's working on his range. We want him to become as proficient of a guard as there is in the pick-and-roll screen offense and being an absolute leader, catalyst on defense."

Is Ferrell ready to take the next step, to be a true leader, both on and off the court? We'll soon find out.


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