Feb 2, 2014; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) drives to the basket against Michigan Wolverines guard Derrick Walton Jr. (10) at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Is Yogi Ferrell the Problem at IU?

Today’s post comes from our friend Garrett Guffin. Guffin has been an avid fan of Indiana teams and aspires to coach basketball at the collegiate level. He has worked as an assistant at Park Tudor for four years under former coach Ed Schilling. He played AAU basketball throughout his entire childhood but stopped in high school. He’s also supervised and taught multiple basketball camps for a local YMCA. In his words, “I’ve played basketball ever since I can remember, in fact “basketball goal” was literally my first words.” 

At this point of the IU Men’s Basketball season I am sure that most true Hoosier fans are in disbelief at the team’s sub-par record. I’m sure it’s a little confusing and frustrating that a team ranked #1 for most of last season, and consistently in the top 10, has seemingly fell off of the map this year. And hasn’t even flirted with a top 25 rank.

Understandably, the Hoosiers lost two first round draft picks (Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo), and also lost one of the best shooting guards in college basketball (Jordan Hulls), but if you’re like me then you don’t understand why you have to basically rebuild this season.

The Hoosiers still have veteran talent like Yogi Ferrell, Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, and Austin Etherington, but why can’t they produce a better team than this?

There are a couple of factors that I believe are fairly obvious as to the results we have this year. One is coach Tom Crean. Is he using his talent the right way? (For example, appropriate subbing). Is he putting the right chemistry on the floor at the right times, or even flat out putting the right line up in that would enable a team to be successful.

The second cause for a dismal season is Ferrell.

I had the chance to meet and be around this young man when he was playing at Park Tudor. Now before I get too far into this story, I want to make sure that everyone knows I am the biggest advocate and supporter for Ferrell throughout his whole career; however I think he is the biggest reason the Hoosiers cannot put it together this season.

I understand he has had some very good games this season (See: Michigan), but what else has he done? Turnovers, volume shooting, lots of ill advised shooting, too much dribbling, and plenty of poor game management.

Let’s start with turnovers, which come often and are silly. Ferrell has to take the blame for this because he is a point guard and supposed to be a game manager, not unlike a quarterback in football. His job as a point guard is to set up plays and make the right judgement on taking care of the ball and giving us the best chance to get a bucket in an offensive possession.

Where he goes wrong? Too many direct and indirect turnovers.

The direct turnovers are when he literally throws the ball away. The indirect turnovers are the passes that he makes to another player and they turn it over.

I understand Ferrell cannot be fully accountable for someone’s mistreatment of the ball, but is Ferrell putting these players into unfortunate and unlikely circumstances to make a successful move? Next time you see a graphic during a game and you see how many turnovers Ferrell has committed, you might want to tack on a few more.

My next issue concerns his overall game. Ferrell is a hell of a ball handler and takes relatively good care of the ball when he’s doing it. I watched him do so many dribbling drills while at Park Tudor that it made me sick. This is why you practically never see him get the ball stolen. The problem is that he knows he’s a good dribbler and maybe likes to show it off a little too much.

I was always taught to dribble with a purpose, as in dribble to take a shot, dribble to make a pass, dribble to get out of trouble. Ferrell usually does none of those things. He dribbles, and dribbles, and dribbles. Next thing you know 10 seconds are left on the shot clock.

That’s poor game management.

It’s almost like a dribbling show, none of the players really move without the ball because he’s putting on a fantastic display of cat and mouse with the defender. Now, when you’re down to 10 seconds left on a shot clock and you’re still dribbling by the state of Indiana at mid-court, what do you do?

No time to really run a play, nobody has been moving without the ball so everyone is still being guarded, so it’s time for Ferrell to shoot. In the Big Ten, there will almost always be a hand in your face when you’re shooting and that goes double for a six-footer like Ferrell. 

At this point in time in this season, a lot of the Hoosier Nation is getting restless. I don’t know whether or not it is Crean that’s the issue, but he  has certainly has raised some questions. I believe  that the team Crean has had this year is very good but are completely under performing. And Ferrell is the worst offender on the roster.

He is a fantastic ball player and isn’t being used in the right way. It’s true of a lot of the players, but Ferrell is the star and that’s why I have to come down on him so hard because he is so full of potential. If it is the coaching, I hope Ferrell can change his ways on his own and be the captain that he’s capable of being. But if it’s Ferrell making these decisions, then he needs to be benched.

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Tags: Indiana Hoosiers Tom Crean Yogi Ferrell

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