TBG Player Previews 2016-2017: Yogi Ferrell

Photo via Yogi Ferrell's Instagram

Photo via Yogi Ferrell’s Instagram

Yogi Ferrell, guard

2015-2016: 34.7 MPG, 17.3 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.1 SPG, .458 FG%, .420 3P%, .829 FT%, .600 TS%, .550 eFG%, 35 G

Who is Yogi Ferrell?

In addition to having what has become one of my favorite names in professional basketball, Ferrell is a 23 year-old point guard out of Indiana University. He went undrafted this year, despite starting at the point for the Hoosiers for four years. The Brooklyn Nets signed him shortly after his four-game stint with the team’s Las Vegas Summer League affiliate, where he averaged 8.8 points and 1.8 assists in 17 minutes.

Checking in at 6’0 and right around 180 pounds, Ferrell has the sort of speed that one would expect of a player of that stature — he’s incredibly quick both with and without the ball, and is more than capable of blowing by most defenders. He also has terrific court vision and a great deal of experience in a pick-and-roll heavy offense. And, despite shouldering the scoring load for Indiana, Ferrell is a confident and willing passer, averaging 5.6 in the fearsome Big Ten.

It’s also worth noting that Ferrell has the makings of a ‘3 and D’ type, albeit from the point guard spot, due to his size. He has a reputation for being a tenacious, aggressive defender, and garnered praise for it throughout his time in Indiana. Perhaps most importantly, given the Nets’ dearth of long-range shooting, Ferrell shot 39.9% from deep for his college career, increasing his overall efficiency each year.

2015-16 Recap:

Ferrell led the Big Ten in Offensive Win Shares — good for ninth-best in Division 1 — and finished in the top ten in FG%, FT%, PPG, APG, eFG%, TS%, Offensive Rating, Offensive BPM, and, well, you get the point. He also led the third most efficient offense in all of Division 1, just for good measure. For all of this, he was named to the Big Ten’s First Team, All-Defensive Team, and was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award.

Will he make the team?

Could Ferrell make some noise due to his ability to shoot the three-pointer and maniacal approach on defense? Definitely. Ferrell seems like the sort of player that Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks will absolutely adore, based on everything that we’ve learned about the duo thus far. He’s competitor and, eventually, could offer improvement in two of the Nets’ weakest departments — so the proof is in the pudding.

That being said, the Nets have depth at the guard position as Jeremy Lin, Greivis Vasquez, and Randy Foye are locks for the team. Along with the guaranteed contract of Isaiah Whitehead and the potential for a veteran like Jorge Gutierrez to sneak onto the roster thanks to his experience, there just isn’t room for Ferrell currently.

The Ferrell Highlight Reel Theater:

Does he have some deep-seeded twangs of Isaiah Thomas within his basketballing DNA? If Ferrell is half the point guard the Celtics’ All-Star is, then the Nets will have made a shrewd signing right off the bat.

The Bottom Line:

Since his signing, we’ve long heard that he’ll likely be leaned on heavily with the Long Island Nets — which still seems true now. If Ferrell is paired up with Egidijus Mockevicius and Beau Beech, two other unlikely NBA-ready prospects, the trio could develop together nicely.

Ferrell has all of the tools to shine in the D-League, as well as the skill-set to carve out a nice career as a backup point guard at the highest level. It will likely take an injury for him to find his way to Brooklyn during this regular season  but there’s plenty of time to develop the former college stud, grooming him into the kind of game-changer that Atkinson will be looking for.

The Brooklyn Game Player Previews: Jorge GutiérrezEgidijus Mockevicius