Senior guard Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell arrived at Big Ten media day in October with a battle wound. Three thin strips of tape covered a cut near his right eye, the result of butting heads with forward Troy Williams during a drill. Ferrell needed medical attention, but he didn't need an apology. "I don't want him to be soft," he says of his 6'7" teammate. "It's the game."
The 6-foot Ferrell has come to appreciate hard knocks. As a freshman he started on a 29-win team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament; since then the Hoosiers have just 16 conference victories. This winter, though, they could approach that two-year total, led by three double-digit scorers—Ferrell, Williams and guard James Blackmon Jr.—and 6'10" freshman Thomas Bryant, a four-star recruit.
Adept at dribbling out of trouble, Ferrell can work the baseline to draw defenses and find shooters. He can also score: Last season he averaged 16.3 points and shot a career-best 41.6% from three-point range. And he showed his improved athleticism last month by dunking on his 6'3" strength coach during a practice. Now Ferrell needs to take all that he's learned from good times and bad and apply it. "He can run a team," coach Tom Crean says. "Will he run it consistently the way it needs to be run? And will he help inspire his teammates to have great confidence? That's the key."
PROJECTED TEAM STATS
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 120.4 (1st)
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 99.9 (113th)
BIG TEN RECORD 12--6 (T-2nd)
Indiana finished last in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense, allowing 45.3% shooting. The Hoosiers will count on center Thomas Bryant, a top 30 recruit, to protect the rim and prevent easy buckets.
With 2015--16 projections for the top six scorers
Coach Tom Crean (8th season)
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Yogi Ferrell* 6'0" Sr.
James Blackmon Jr.* 6'4" Soph.
Troy Williams* 6'7" Jr.
Robert Johnson* 6'3" Soph.
Thomas Bryant* 6'10" Fr.
Max Bielfeldt 6'8" Sr.
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
ROUND OF 32
ROUND OF 64
GREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (FERRELL)
IU MEDIA RELATIONS (BRYANT)