So now we know, despite drama involving an Indy Star sports writer and Yogi Ferrell’s mom, that Yogi will be an Indiana Hoosier.
We also know that coach Tom Crean, who does not take his on-fire recruiting lightly or for granted, is back on the prospect hunt.
So much for a Thanksgiving break.
Crean was at Indianapolis Park Tudor Wednesday night when Ferrell announced, during a pre-game ceremony that also included honoring Park Tudor’s state runner-up finish from last spring, that he was committing to IU.
While landing Ferrell might not be quite the earth shaker that getting Cody Zeller was, it’s huge from a future team standpoint.
Ferrell is a very good point guard and as we know from our Final Four history, teams don’t reach the Final Four or win national championships without great guard play in general, outstanding point guard play in particular.
The point guard runs the offense, gets the ball where it needs to be, gets it to the guys who need to get it and who can score when the opportunity presents itself.
Ferrell is rated as the nation’s No. 2 point guard in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com, the No. 17 player overall. He is a 5-10 blur who can drive and dish and do all those things Crean wants in an offense. He’s also a winner from strong teams in high school and the AAU circuit.
That matters – a lot.
He’s far from a finished product, and Crean and his staff will help develop Ferrell to his full potential.
Ferrell waited a couple of weeks after Zeller’s announcement before making his choice. He had said Butler, Virginia, Florida and Wake Forest were also in the running, but let’s be honest, once Zeller picked the Hoosiers, it was just a matter of time before Ferrell followed him. They play summer AAU ball together, wanted to be college teammates and play on a powerhouse team.
Ferrell wanted his announcement to have high impact, but things got complicated when veteran Indy Star sports writer Jeff Rabjohns wrote a story that ran a day earlier saying that, according to numerous sources, Ferrell was coming to Indiana.
This negated some of the suspense and it bothered Ferrell even though it was 100 percent correct. It also brought out the mother bear anger in Ferrell’s mother, who felt her son had been hurt and wronged by a premature story.
IMPORTANT JOURNALISM SAFETY TIP: Don’t mess with moms!
So she fired off some tweets. The first told Jeff not to come to the press conference because he already had his story. The second told him to stay away from her son, to not talk to him or shake his hand or anything.
A couple of things. First, if you want to keep something secret, tell no one, not even the family pet. The Zellers did this perfectly. Nobody knew where he was going. Cody’s high school coach, Gene Miiller, didn’t even know until just before the announcement.
Second, journalists are always under pressure to get things first. That’s become even more prevalent in this instant-information digital age we live in. Jeff got it first and got it right. That's a good thing.
I know Jeff. He’s a good guy. I don’t know all the particulars about who was or wasn’t right, or what was or wasn’t agreed to, but I do know he wouldn’t intentional screw over anybody.
Finally, Jeff was at the press conference and wrote a story that included comments from Yogi and his father, so no big deal. Jeff has known the family for years. He had even written a story in 2005 when Yogi was rated as the nation’s No. 1 player.
Yogi was 10 years old.
What does this mean for Indiana? Consider it also has Class of 2012 commitments from Indianapolis Broad Ripple shooting guard Ron Patterson (rated No. 78 by Rivals), La Porte forward Hanner Perea (No. 10) and 7-foot center Peter Jurkin (No. 137), and you likely have the nation’s best class for 2012.
This is huge for a program still recovering from NCAA sanctions under ex-coach Kelvin Sampson.
Zeller, in case you’ve forgotten, is No. 20 for the Class of 2011. Hamilton Heights guard Austin Etherington, a strong shooter who fell under the radar after a summer back injury, joins him in a class rated No. 17 nationally.
IU fans are still buzzing from the Sunday commitments of a pair of four-star swingmen from Indianapolis in the Class of 2013 -- Cathedral’s Collin Hartman and Warren Central’s Devin Davis.
Then there are the two studs from the Class of 2014 -- Fort Wayne Bishop Luers guard James Blackmon and Indianapolis Tech forward Trey Lyles. The 6-9 Lyles is ranked No. 1 in his class by ESPN. Blackmon is No. 10.
That’s nine big-time commitments in a four-month span. Plus, Crean has an undefeated team. The guy is so hot you want to ask him what his favorite lottery numbers are.
REALITY CHECK: Right now these recruits are perceived as flawless. They all can score at will and leap tall buildings with a single bound. Multiple championships are guaranteed.
Except they’re not.
The reality is once these guys arrive on campus they’ll have a few things to work on, starting with defense, intensity, fitness and strength.
Did we mention defense?
But that’s nitpicking. The foundation is there for a championship run. A lot still has to happen. But there is excitement and hope, and after two years of misery, that’s a welcome change.
That leads to one final question:
What’s taking Crean so long to nail down Class of 2015 commitments?