After 2nd Big Ten Title, Ferrell Earns His Spot Among Hoosier Greats

Last April, Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell had a life-altering decision to make. Would he declare for the NBA Draft or would he return to Bloomington  to play his senior season at Indiana University?

Almost eleven months later, Ferrell’s decision to stay not only helped Indiana win its second outright Big Ten title in four years, but it also helped him secure his place among the greatest Hoosiers of all-time.

Ferrell’s statistics point to one of the most accomplished players to ever wear the cream and crimson. He’s the school’s all-time leader in assists (603) and has the 10th most assists of any Big Ten play ever. He’s also the only player to lead the Hoosiers in assists during all four of his seasons at Indiana.

In addition to his record-breaking assist numbers, Ferrell can also score the basketball with the best. He has scored 1,892 points in his career, which ranks seventh in school history. Specifically, he’s one of the best three-point shooters in Indiana history, passing A.J. Guyton for most three-pointers by a Hoosier in Big Ten play (158). Ferrell passed Guyton when he hit his clutch three-pointer with 37 seconds left against Iowa. Ferrell also owns the school record for longest streak of consecutive games with a made three-pointer (68 games).

Lastly, Ferrell owns the record for most career starts for an Indiana Hoosier (132 games) and is the second player in Big Ten history (the other being Illinois’ Dee Brown) to accumulate 1,800 points, 600 assists, and 400 rebounds over his college career.

With all that being said, Hoosier fans value winning more than any statistic and that’s why Ferrell is finally being recognized for his greatness.

Tuesday’s win at Iowa City gave Indiana its conference-tying 22nd Big Ten title. It’s the second for Ferrell with both being outright championships. Yet while other Hoosiers have the same number or even more Big Ten titles, Ferrell’s accomplishment is unique.

Ferrell is the only player on this season’s team that remains from the 2013 Hoosiers which basically means he has won two conference championships with two completely different teams. His two outright Big Ten championships are even more impressive when you realize Indiana had gone 20 years without an outright Big Ten title prior to Ferrell’s freshman season.

Add in all of the clutch shots over his career as well as the great defense he’s played this season and Yogi Ferrell has without a doubt out earned a seat at the table of Hoosier legends.

However, he might not be done. He already ranks among the top 20 greatest players in IU history, but if he’s somehow able to end his senior campaign with Assembly Hall hanging a sixth banner, he’ll easily move into the top 10.

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Three Reasons The Hoosiers Are On The Brink Of Winning The Big Ten

The Indiana Hoosiers took care of business on Thursday as they easily defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini 74-47 thanks to a dominant second half performance. With the win, the Hoosiers now sit at 13-3 in Big Ten play and are closing in on their second conference championship in four years.

Yet how did a team left for dead at the beginning of December turn things around so drastically?

Here are three reasons the Hoosiers are one win away from clinching at least a share of the Big Ten title and two wins away from winning the conference outright:

  1. Depth: Very few college basketball teams have nine players  who can contribute on a nightly basis and the Hoosiers take full advantage. Combining their breakneck pace with their ability to rotate players in and out keeps their players relatively fresh enough to make a game-ending run when the opponent becomes gassed. It has also helped the team weather what could have been a season-ending injury when James Blackmon Jr. went down right before Big Ten play began. Instead, freshmen OG Anunoby and Juwan Morgan have grown up quickly and have provided superior defense along with adequate offense.
  2. Schedule: Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: the Hoosiers had a very easy early Big Ten schedule. This was even more important for the Hoosiers as it coincided with their period of trying to adapt their rotation after the loss of Blackmon. Looking back at a couple of those games it’s almost shameful to think that the Hoosier only beat awful Rutgers by 7 points. But those early games against lesser competition let the Hoosiers make a successful transition while not hurting their record. At the end of the day, you can’t control who you face in your conference and the Hoosiers took advantage of things breaking right for them.
  3. Yogi Ferrell: The senior point guard has been great throughout his entire career at Indiana but this year he has taken it to another level. In Big Ten games this season, Ferrell is averaging 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game. On top of that, his defense has reached a level he’s never played at before and it has resulted in 1.31 steals per game in conference play for a player who has never averaged over one steal at any point in his college career. But what’s been the most impressive is his leadership. I only mentioned Big Ten games because those are the games he’s played with Blackmon out of the lineup, showing that Ferrell has stepped up in his absence. Ferrell reinforced the notion that he can carry the Hoosiers when the team needs it by posting 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists against Illinois in a game Indiana was without Rob Johnson and saw Troy Williams play limited minutes due to an injury. In the second half alone, after trailing the Illini 28-27 at half, Ferrell had as many points in the second half (19) as the whole Illinois team. He may not win Big Ten Player of the Year, but Ferrell has arguably been the most valuable player in the conference and is starting to climb the list of greatest Hoosiers of all time.