Are you surprised that Gary Harris beat out Yogi Ferrell for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball?
You might have thought Ferrell had the edge given he led Indianapolis Park Tudor to consecutive Class 2A state titles, plus had committed to play for Indiana.
Harris’ Hamilton Southeastern team lost to eventual 4A state champ Carmel in the sectional finals, and he disappointed many Hoosiers by deciding to go to Michigan State rather than Indiana.
Still, Harris’ high school numbers (25.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 3.9 assists for a 22-3 team) and national rating (he's No. 11 in the Class of 2012 by scout.com) showcased his worthiness. And the 35-foot buzzer-beating shot he hit to beat Indianapolis North Central in the sectional opener was second only to Christian Watford’s Kentucky beating three-pointer for in-state clutch play this season.
Voting was very close. Harris had 154 votes from the state’s coaches and media. Ferrell had 103. Pendleton Heights’ Kellen Dunham had 34 points. Lake Central’s Glenn Robinson III had 11.
The Mr. Basketball honor puts Harris on the Indiana All-Star team. Ferrell, along with fellow Class of 2012 IU recruits Jeremy Hollowell and Ron Patterson also figure to make the Indiana All-Star team, set to be announced this week.
IU does have a Mr. Basketball on the roster with Cody Zeller, this season's Big Ten freshman of the Year.
Hollowell and fellow IU recruit Hanner Perea have been busy guys lately. Both were teammates at last Friday’s Kentucky Derby Festival basketball Classic in Louisville. Hollowell had 11 points (on 4-for-10 shooting) and two rebounds in that game. Perea had seven points (3-for-6 shooting) and two rebounds.
A week earlier they had been in New Orleans to participate in the All-American Championships. In that game Hollowell had 10 points (4-for-7 shooting), four rebounds and four assists. Perea had eight points (3-for-5 shooting, 0-for-2 from three-point range) and four rebounds before fouling out.
They did some sightseeing and got to watch Final Four practices.
Patterson didn’t make the New Orleans trip (he did participate in the top-60 workout that helps choose the Indiana All-Star roster), but he was at the Derby Classic. He had eight points (4-for-14 shooting, 0-for-5 from three-point range) and five rebounds.
“We’ve been playing with each other for a long time now,” Perea said. “We’ve been playing AAU and open gym. We’re trying to get to know each other.”
IU fans are trying to get to know them. A large portion of the 6,700 people who attended the Derby Classic were Hoosier fans. Perea and his fellow IU recruits noticed.
“It’s crazy, you know,” Perea said. “We’re in Kentucky and we have a lot of Indiana fans come to watch us play. They came to support us even though this was just an all-star game and not too big a deal. That was fun.”
Ferrell got his all-star experience with the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago. He had eight assists and no turnovers in 22 minutes.
It’s his combination of speed, ball-handling, passing and decision making that will make him the Class of 2012 player most likely to make instant impact for the Hoosiers next season.