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Ferrell leads No. 3 Indiana into game at Purdue

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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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NFL players react to news that Andrew Luck is retiring

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NFL players react to news that Andrew Luck is retiring

NFL players took to Twitter on Saturday to send well-wishes to Andrew Luck after news broke that he is retiring from the NFL. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Luck was 'mentally worn out' after years of battling injuries. Luck confirmed the news in an emotional press conference on Saturday night.

"Andrew luck I understand you 100% brotha," wrote Dez Bryant. "... take your time ... I wish you the best."

Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins reacted to the news with emojis.

Former player turned ESPN analyst Emmanuel Acho posted video of Colts fans booing Luck as he walked into the locker room. "Coach always said, 'the pats on the back eventually turn into stabs,'" he wrote.  

"That's bad to boo that man," added former Redskins player Chris Baker.

Former Ravens and current Carolina player Torrey Smith tweeted that anyone in the sport understands.

Jaguars long snapper Matt Overton wrote he was "shook."

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'Hardest decision of my life': Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

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'Hardest decision of my life': Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Andrew Luck watched one last game from the sideline Saturday.

Then he said goodbye to the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback heard boos as he walked away from the field, then walked to the podium and made the surprise decision official. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29.

"I am going to retire," he said. "This is not an easy decision. It's the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me."

Luck said the repeated injuries, the lingering pain and continual rehab took away his love for the game.

Word first leaked about Luck's plans during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 27-17 loss to the Chicago Bears when ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported Luck felt mentally worn down and had met with team owner Jim Irsay to inform him of his decision.

Luck has most recently struggled to recover from a lower left leg injury.

Luck's former coach Chuck Pagano made his first return to Lucas Oil Stadium since he was fired as the Colts' head coach following the 2017 season. Luck did not play that season because he was recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder.

He returned last season and led the Colts back to the playoffs for the first time in four years, winning the league's Comeback Player of the Year award.

But in March, he suffered a strained left calf, was held out of all of the team's offseason workouts and returned on a limited basis for three practices at training camp in July. Lingering pain forced him back to the sideline and the Colts later determined that he had an injury near the back of his left ankle.

Coach Frank Reich had said he hoped to have an answer about Luck's availability for the Sept. 8 season opener after the third preseason game. This might not have been the one he wanted -- and certainly didn't expect.

Jacoby Brissett now inherits the starting job.