Ferrell leads No. 3 Indiana into game at Purdue


Ferrell leads No. 3 Indiana into game at Purdue

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Ed Schilling knew right away that Kevin ``Yogi'' Ferrell was different.

Ferrell could move, worked to improve and played with an energy and passion more befitting college and pro players than a prep star.

So when Schilling's star pupil made the jump from high school star to starting point guard on No. 3 Indiana (18-2, 6-1), the Indianapolis Park Tudor coach expected Ferrell to make a seamless transition.

``Yogi attacks every shot like it is the game winner and he did that in practice, too,'' said Schilling, who won the last two Class 2A state titles with Ferrell.

``Because he practiced at such a high intensity level, he really didn't know any other way to play. A lot of times in high school, some of the kids are so skilled they go through things at half-speed and are successful. Yogi was never like that. He only knows one way to do things.''

All out, all the time, which is one of the reasons he's such a key ingredient on a team already stacked with talent.

Cody Zeller, the 7-foot sophomore center, was a preseason All-American, the preseason Big Ten player of the year and is expected to be one of the top vote-getters for national player of the year.

Other Big Ten coaches say Indiana 6-foot-5 junior Victor Oladipo relentlessly pursues the ball and has turned into a major offensive threat. He's third nationally in field goal shooting (66.0 percent) and 13th nationally in steals (2.5). On Monday, Oladipo was honored for a 21-point, seven-rebound, six-assist performance against Michigan State with the Big Ten player of the week award.

Senior guard Jordan Hulls is fourth in the nation in 3-point shooting (49.5 percent) and forward Christian Watford, best remembered for his buzzer-beating 3-pointer to upset No. 1 Kentucky last season, turned down a chance to go pro after last season.

All four of those starters average double figures.

Yet, somehow, among this star-studded cast, Ferrell has found a way to carve out his own niche.

``The impact he's had on us defensively is amazing,'' Indiana coach Tom Crean said. ``For him to come out and defend guys like Keith Appling says a lot about him. The thing that's so rare, especially for someone that age, is that he has a short memory. He doesn't let mistakes stick with him, he just goes on to the next play.''

The evidence is there. Through his first 20 games, Ferrell has 91 assists and 40 turnovers and is averaging 7.3 points.

Over the past five games, Ferrell has shown improvement in his shooting. While he's connecting on only 38.5 percent of his shots and 28.5 percent of his 3-pointers this season, Ferrell is 19 of 36 (52.8 percent) from the field and 6 of 17 (35.3 percent) from beyond the arc over the past five games.

Coincidence? No way.

``It's just getting in the gym,'' Ferrell said. ``Vic and these guys have a tremendous work ethic and they'll pull me along with them to get extra shots up after practice.''

About 100 miles to the northwest, Purdue coach Matt Painter is breaking in his own freshman point guard, Ronnie Johnson.

On paper, they look like twins.

Ferrell is listed at 6-foot, 178 pounds, Johnson at 6-foot, 170 pounds.

Both grew up in Indy and were considered the state's two top point guards in the recruiting class, and on Wednesday night, they'll renew their personal rivalry when Purdue (11-9, 4-3 Big Ten) hosts Indiana.

``Ronnie has a lot of responsibility playing as a true freshman at that position, as does Yogi Ferrell, and it's hard,'' Painter said. ``It's hard each night to play both ends and run a team and understand what's going on. But he (Johnson) is coming on. He's doing some good things, we just have to get him to understand, especially when he gets frustrated, that he still has to run the team and make the best decision for Purdue.''

Defensively, Ferrell appears to have the edge. Since he arrived, Indiana's opponents are shooting 37.3 percent this season.

He rarely gets off balance and has an ability to beat opponents to the spot.

How does he do it? With outstanding footwork, speed and some of those special skills Schilling detected in high school.

``I worked with a lot of NBA players, I coached in the NBA, he probably goes from forward to backward as fast as anybody,'' said Schilling, a former assistant to John Calipari in both college and the NBA. ``It's about as good as I've ever seen. He has terrific balance and that ability to change direction.''

Not to mention the ability to become a program-changing type of point guard who coaches know will only get better.

``There is no ceiling for him,'' Crean said. ``He's a winner.''

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Caps prospect watch: Signing season?


Caps prospect watch: Signing season?

The 2018 NCAA Hockey Tournament bracket has been announced and only one Capitals prospect, Brian Pinho, is still in the running.

Providence College was selected as the No. 2 seed in the East Regional and will play No. 3 Clarkson in the first round on Friday, March 23 on ESPNU. The winner will play the winner of Notre Dame-Michigan Tech on Saturday with a chance to advance to the Frozen Four.

The college season is over for the rest of the Capitals' college prospects which begs the question, will any of them sign an entry-level deal with Washington?

In the spring when seasons end for colleges, junior leagues and European leagues, we see a flurry of signings across the NHL as teams sign their prospects and young free agents.

Among the Caps' college prospects, the most likely candidate to sign would be Shane Gersich. Gersich just wrapped up this third season at the University of North Dakota, finishing second on the team in goals (13) and tied for third in points (29). The Capitals will certainly make a push to sign him considering his talent and because if he returns to college for a fourth year, he stands to become a free agent on Aug. 15, 2019.

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reported Wednesday that North Dakota was still awaiting Gersich's decision on whether he planned to return to college.

Quinnipiac defenseman Chase Priskie is in a similar situation, but it he has decided to head back to school for another season.

“That wasn’t a season I’d want to leave on,” Priskie told the New Haven Register. “When I came here as a freshman I saw our senior class, Garteig, St. Denis, Soren Jonzzon, and they left such a legacy that guys still talk about them. Same for Sam Anas and Devon Toews. They were all such great players and some of the best people for our program. When I leave, I want to be talked about like they are.”


Other prospect notes:

  • For Pinho, now a senior at Providence, this marks an opportunity for him to finish his college career the same way he began, with a national championship. “I don’t think I realized at the time how hard it is just to get back to the tournament,” Pinho told the New Haven Register. “So that’s something we older guys have been telling the younger guys. You never know when you’re going to be back and you have to make the most of it when you’re there.” (You can read the full feature on Pinho here)
  • The end of the season may suddenly be near for goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov. Metallurg Magnitogorsk finds itself down 3-1 in its series with Ak Bars in the KHL playoffs meaning their season could be over as early as Friday. Of course, the big news to watch after that is whether or not Samsonov would come to North America. If he does, he would most likely go to Hershey to play for the Bears. With only 10 games remaining on Hershey's schedule, however, the sooner Samsonov's team is ousted from the playoffs, the better. At least from a Washington perspective.
  • All three of Washington's WHL prospects have reached the WHL playoffs. Moose Jaw (Dmitriy Zaitsev) finished with the best record in the league and will play Prince Albert in the first round. Swift Current (Beck Malenstyn) finished second in the East Division behind Moose Jaw and will play Regina. Everett (Garrett Pilon) won the U.S. Division and earned the top seed in the Western Conference. They will play Seattle in the first round.
  • Dmitriy Zaitsev remains out after taking an illegal hit last week. He did not play in either of Moose Jaw's final regular season games, but was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
  • Adam Carlson has found his groove in Kansas City. Playing for the Mavericks of the ECHL, he won each of his two starts this past week allowing only one goal on 43 shots. He was named the 2nd star of the game for both games.
  • Madison Bowey recorded an assist on Friday and two more for Hershey on Saturday for three over the weekend in his first week back with the Bears. Bowey has spent the majority of the season with the Caps, but the additions of Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek at the trade deadline meant there were just too many bodies up in Washington and not enough playing time to go around. As Bowey is waiver exempt, he became the odd-man out and was sent to the AHL. It would not be surprising to see him recalled by Washington when the NHL playoffs begin.
  • Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler brought his goal total up to five for the season with two goals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Monday. The Bears really wanted to emphasize his offensive game this season to see if Siegenthaler could be developed into a two-way player. His strength is definitely is on the defensive end of the ice, but he will be a more versatile player if he can also be a threat offensively as well. You can see the highlights of Siegenthaler's two-goal game here:

  • Forward Hampus Gustafsson was recalled to Hershey last week and did not wait long to make an impact. He scored his first career AHL goal on Friday. He also added an assist making that game his first career multi-point game as well.
  • Tyler Lewington was suspended two games by the AHL for a punch he delivered to Bridgeport's Scott Eansor in Friday's game.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in this week's updated rankings 

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Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?


Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?

The Redskins sure hosted a lot of free agent defensive line visits in the second week of free agency, but so far, no signed contracts. 

Johnathan Hankins came to Ashburn. Sylvester Williams came to Ashburn. Pernell McPhee came to Ashburn. All three left without a done deal, and now for Redskins fans, the question becomes not about when a deal will get done, but if any deals will happen.

Actually, one deal did happen. According to a report, Williams has signed with the Lions. 

Since visiting the Redskins on Monday, Hankins also took a trip to see the Lions. McPhee, who was offered a contract by the Redskins, has since taken a trip to visit the Falcons. 


Keep in mind too, Washington expressed interest in nose tackle Bennie Logan last offseason, and the 6-foot-2, 309 lb., former Chief is again on the market. A visit from Logan would surprise nobody, though it hasn't been reported yet. 

Mother Nature might also be an impediment for the Redskins. A March snowstorm shut the D.C. region down on Wednesday, which could have limited potential free agent visits.

What's clear is between Hankins, McPhee and Williams this week, in addition to Muhammad Wilkerson and Benson Mayowa last week, the Redskins are obviously looking to upgrade their defensive line. Combine that with a contract restructure for incumbent Terrell McClain, and Washington has the flexibility to improve on last season's NFL-worst run defense. 

That doesn't mean, however, the Redskins will absolutely sign one of the above mentioned players. And it doesn't mean outside linebacker Junior Gallete won't return to the Redskins either. 

Many fans wonder if a McPhee signing means the Redskins would move on from Galette. It might, but that's no sure thing. 

Washington went into the 2017 season with five outside linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Galette, Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter. Right now, the 'Skins only have Kerrigan, Smith and Anderson under contract. The team needs to add at least one OLB, but likely two.

McPhee also carries about 20 extra pounds on his frame than Galette, giving the former Bear and Raven more flexibility to play against the run. Galette is a speed, leverage and moves player, focused on getting to the quarterback. He's capable against the run, but in the same way a sports car shouldn't carry a snow plow, Galette should be used to pressure QBs. 

Point being: McPhee and Galette could both make sense for the Redskins, if the team can work out the cash. 

Money usually matters the most in free agency, and it's clear the Redskins haven't made the type of offers that any of these players felt compelled to immediately sign. Deals could still happen though. Hankins didn't sign last offseason until April and Galette seems to thank Redskins fans via social media with relative frequency. 

Washington also had some success with the patient approach to free agency. The team was able to keep Zach Brown, though it took some nervous days of allowing the tackling machine linebacker to test the free agent market. With that win in hand, don't expect the Redskins brass to change their philosophy. 

Until further notice, it's hurry up and wait season in Ashburn.

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