Yogi Ferrell Player Spotlight

Story posted January 22, 2013 in CommRadio, Sports by Matt Lawrence

The list of great Indiana Hoosier point guards is a long and well-distinguished one. Highlighted by the likes of Eric Gordon, Steve Alford, and the great Isiah Thomas, the Hoosiers have some of the best guards to ever play in the college ranks. This year, protected from the spotlight by a veteran-led team, stands a 6-foot freshman that could eventually find himself on that historic list of Hoosier guards.

Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, in his first season out of Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis, has taken the reigns at point guard and has started every game thus far. The Hoosiers returned four starters from last year’s Sweet 16 squad, with the only graduating senior being point guard Verdell Jones III.

Without a point guard returning for this season, head coach Tom Crean knew that recruiting a point guard with the ability to step in and immediately start was crucial for the 2012 class. Luckily for Indiana, one of the nation’s top guards was in their own backyard.

It didn’t take long for people to know the name Kevin Ferrell. Back in 2004, Clark Francis of the controversial basketball publication “Hoop Scoops” named Ferrell as the number one player in his class. Unbelievably at the time, Ferrell was only in 4th grade and stood at a measly 4’10. The expectations, however, would stick with him for the rest of his early career.

Yogi was a consensus top-three point guard in the country coming out of Park Tudor High School. In his four years at Park Tudor, Ferrell led the school to back-to-back Indiana 2A state titles in 2011 and 2012. His 12 assists in the 2012 title game was an Indiana championship record, and he was one rebound away of recording a triple-double.    

With offers from Butler, Wake Forest, Florida, and Virginia to go along with Indiana, Ferrell ultimately decided to stay in Indiana and signed with Crean and the Hoosiers. For both parties, the signing could not have worked any better.

The freshman has quickly become a fan favorite in Bloomington. His slick ball handling and highlight real assists have taken the Big Ten conference by storm, and Ferrell has positioned the Hoosiers for a run at their first national title since 1987. His five assists per game rank second in the B1G behind National Player of the Year candidate Trey Burke of Michigan.

Simply looking at statistics doesn’t do justice to the importance of Ferrell to this Hoosiers team. Sure, six points and five assists per game doesn’t sound like All-American type numbers, but with the talent that they have across the board, Ferrell’s main responsibility is to control and manage the game. Guys like Cody Zeller, Christian Wofford, and Victor Oladipo take much of the burdens away from Ferrell, who still doesn’t fully understand the complexities and speed of Big Ten basketball.

It’s believed that Ferrell will be returning next year instead of entering the NBA Draft, and his responsibilities will continue to increase with experience. But for now, the freshman will need to continue to improve in order for the Hoosiers to have a legitimate shot come tournament time.

Matt Lawrence is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail mdl5249@psu.edu.