It’s easy to say that college basketball was dominated by the senior class this year.
Players like Buddy Hield, Denzel Valentine, Brice Johnson, and Malcolm Brogdon headlined arguably one of the best senior classes in recent memory.
While those players are at the top of the draft board and have the interest of every team in the league, there is one sleeper in this year’s senior class that is being overlooked as a future NBA player.
That is Yogi Ferrell of the Indiana Hoosiers.
A four year starter for Coach Crean and the Hoosiers, Ferrell averaged 14.5 ppg and 4.6 assists per game throughout his career in the Cream and Crimson.
He doesn’t boost the stats that Hield or Valentine have, but he was just as valuable to the Hoosiers as Buddy and Valentine were to their respective teams.
The first time I watched Yogi play was in the 2A Indiana High School Basketball State Championship. Ferrell’s team won the game while he only shot 6 of 15 from the field and scoring 14 points. He may have struggled shooting the ball that game, but that’s when I realized that he would be a special player. Yogi didn’t need to score a ton of points to win the game, he was able to impact the game in other ways by setting up his teammates for easy baskets and made multiple steals that were key towards the end of the game.
Yogi, in my opinion, is the type of player that every coach loves and every team needs. He is very consistent especially on the offensive side of the ball. His ability to create his own shot and set up his teammates is something special. Yogi can shoot the lights out and has the abilty to get hot whenever he wants.
Early in his NBA career, Yogi could be a key role player for a team coming off the bench that can deliver instant offense with his shooting and playmaking ability.
What makes Yogi unique is his leadership ability. Earlier this year, Indiana struggled with leadership which lead to their 5-3 start. But as the season went on Yogi realized that this was his team. In order for them to be successful, Yogi had to take charge and be leader or the season would be over pretty quick for the Hoosiers. Yogi stepped into that role and led his team to a Big Ten Regular Season title and to the Sweet 16.
While Yogi was one of the Big Ten’s top scorers, his main role is distributing to his teammates. Throughout his career, Ferrell posted a 2.55 assist/turnover ratio and averaged two turnovers per 40 minutes. Ferrell at times struggles at dictate the tempo but improved as the season goes on. Ferrell is a good scorer but needs to work on becoming a more fluent passer in order to become a starter at the NBA level. He also struggles with on ball defense occasionally but has the potential to be a pesky perimeter defender in the league.
A comparison to Ferrell is ex-NBA player TJ Ford. Ford was drafted out of Texas in 2003 and was a risky draft pick because of his height. Ford’s career was cut short because of injuries and he couldn’t keep up with the size and athleticism of other NBA athletes – but he was productive in his time. He averaged 11 points, 6 assists, and three boards over the course of his 8 year pro career. Ferrell could easily have a similar career.
General Managers are very hesitant to draft short point guards because of the height and they are not sure if they will be able to deal with the length of other NBA point guards day and day out. But Ferrell has a real shot to break that trend.
While the odds may be against him, I believe that the NBA team that picks up Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell will not be disappointed.