Gorches: Park Tudor’s IU-bound Yogi lives up to the hype
By Steve T. Gorches firstname.lastname@example.org/648-3141 March 24, 2012 11:34PM
Bowman Leadership Academy's Carlos McCormick and Park Tudor High School senior Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell battle for a loose ball during firs-half action. The Bowman Academy Eagles faced Park Tudor Panthers in Class 2A action of the 102nd Annual IHSAA Boys Basketball State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Saturday, March 24, 2012. Park Tudor defeated Bowman 79-57. | Doug McSchooler~for the Post-Tribune
Updated: April 26, 2012 8:29AM
Indianapolis — Over the last two years, it’s been like that famous Brady Bunch episode when it comes to downstate media and fans talking about Park Tudor’s point guard who will be donning Indiana University crimson and cream next year.
But instead of Marsha being the name someone is sick of hearing, it’s “Yogi, Yogi, Yogi.”
Saturday’s Class 2A state final was the third time I’ve seen the venerable, overhyped Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell play in title game.
Two years ago as a sophomore his Park Tudor squad lost to Wheeler. Yogi scored 20 of his team’s 38 points, but I thought it was more of the Bearcats doing a decent job of stopping everyone else except the already-getting-too-much-hype Yogi machine.
Last year Yogi Tudor — or is it Park Yogi since before he arrived in the Panthers’ program they only had two sectional titles and one regional crown — barely edged Bishop Noll with Yogi having 14 points and six assists. His freshman teammate Trevon Bluiett was easily the best player on the court with 21 points.
So before Park Tudor’s record-setting 79-57 pasting of Bowman on Saturday — it set 2A single team records for points, margin of victory, field goal percentage by a single team (.558) and total assists (19) — I wasn’t on the Yogi bandwagon, wondering why he’s been ranked in the top three point guards in the 2012 recruiting class by multiple sites and services.
After watching the bulked-up (when he came out of the game at the end and untucked his jersey, his six-pack abs were noticeable), still kind of short (the program says 5-foot-11, but I confirmed he’s no taller than me at 5-91/2 through unscientific methods), lightning quick guard on Saturday, maybe I should also be saying, “Yogi, Yogi, Yogi.”
Of those 19 Park Tudor assists, 12 were Yogi’s, setting the 2A record and matching the overall mark going back to 1972 when the IHSAA starting keeping track of assists. The other 12-assist effort came from North Central’s Kevin Gant in his team’s 2007 loss to East Chicago Central.
I thought Bowman’s full-court press, suffocating defense and quick guard play could stop the Yogi juggernaut. So did Eagles coach Marvin Rea.
“Our guards were just amazed,” Rea said. “He had our guys on their heels all day. It’s pretty rough going up against the No. 1 guard in the country.”
That likely wasn’t Rea being sarcastic, though he did think part of Yogi’s monster effort was due to his own team’s lack of execution.
“Most of the time our guards get into you and cause turnovers,” he said. “It’s like they didn’t want to touch Yogi. We didn’t stay in front of Yogi. We had a couple minutes there when we did and that’s when we made our run.”
It wasn’t good enough. In addition to his 12 assists — some of which would make Magic Johnson say “Wow!” — Yogi had 17 points and nine rebounds, just missing a rare triple-double in the finals. (IHSAA officials said they couldn’t remember a triple-double in the finals with the closest coming from Washington’s Luke Zeller in 2005 with 27 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.)
Yogi’s Kodak moment — or is it a Canon moment now that Kodak filed bankruptcy? — might have come with 38 seconds left in the third quarter when he drove the lane, did one of his multiple spin-o-ramas, and flipped the ball over his head with his back facing the basket for nothing but net.
It was definitely a jaw-dropping move that almost made me say, “Yogi, Yogi, Yogi.”
As expected, Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling couldn’t say enough about the IU-bound phenomenon.
“He sets the bar so high for us,” Schilling said. “He shoots the first ball in the first shoot-around in September like it’s the state final.”
But even his teammates, including Bluiett, attribute everything to Yogi as if they had seen that memorable “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha” episode of the Brady Bunch.
“Most of my (open) looks came because of Yogi and his vision of the court,” said Bluiett, who was stellar again on the biggest stage with a game-high 25 points.
Maybe in a couple years we’ll hear “Trevon, Trevon, Trevon” since he’s already gotten scholarship offers from Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame.
“Yogi did a great job of penetrating and that’s what opened up my shot,” said Paul Bayt, who drained six 3-pointers to set a 2A record, with four of those shots assisted by Yogi.
So can the hype monster earn Mr. Basketball even though Hamilton Southeastern’s Gary Harris — yeah, the kid whose halfcourt buzzer-beater in this year’s state tourney opener against North Central was on ESPN SportsCenter’s top 10 plays — is the consensus favorite to be voted for the award?
Yogi did win back-to-back state titles — like last year’s Mr. Basketball and future IU teammate Cody Zeller did at Washington — while averaging 17.8 points and 6.1 assists per game. Harris, meanwhile, averaged 25.4 points and 7.7 rebounds, but his team lost to Carmel in the sectional final.
Mark me down as at least No. 3 in the Yogi-for-Mr. Basketball campaign after Saturday, behind Schilling and Yogi himself.
“I’ve done everything in my power to get Mr. Basketball,” he said. “Now it’s in other people’s hands. So I’ll just pray that it all works out.”