Hutton: Let’s pump the brakes on crowning Park Tudor’s Ferrell
March 21, 2012 11:10PM
Park Tudor junior Kevin Ferrell (11) passes around the Bishop Noll defense during the 2A State Boys Basketball Championship at the Conseco Fieldhouse Saturday, March 26, 2011, in Indianapolis, Ind. Bishop Noll missed on a last second shot to fall to Park Tudor 43-42. | Scott M. Bort~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 23, 2012 11:47AM
INDIANAPOLIS — The Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell coronation tour started this week at the coaches’ press conference pumping up the Indiana state high school basketball finals.
The media from that part of the state might as well gift -wrap the state title for him and Park Tudor with a little pink bow on top.
Suggestions of a Park Tudor dynasty (the Panthers lost to Wheeler two year ago in the state final and beat Bishop Noll by a point only after the Warriors’ Ronnye Beamon missed an eight-footer with a few seconds left) and the super human ability of Ferrell to never want to come out of a game were made by some fawning media types. (What good player do you know that ever wants leave a game unless he is injured or absolutely gassed?)
The awe and disbelief at Ferrell’s awesome skill, generated mainly by a couple of reporters I didn’t recognize, were just a little stomach turning for someone from this part of the state.
He’s good enough, but give me a break. He’s not Isiah Thomas.
To be fair, Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling was nothing but humble, deferential and polite when waxing on about Ferrell. He was just simply answering softball questions and pumping up his players, like all good coaches do.
And to be fair, there is absolutely nothing not to like about Ferrell, who is not just a great player but a great kid, too.
I’ve heard Ferrell speak in two press conferences and he was absolutely perfectly both times. He was articulate, poised and thoughtful in victory and defeat. What more could you ask of your superstar point guard?
On the floor, he is a great ball-handler who is extremely unselfish. He shoots the ball well (60 percent from the field) and he knows how to find the gaps and throw defenses off balance. He certainly knows how to lead his team. Give him that. This is the third straight year Ferrell has taken the Panthers to the title game.
But they have another high Division I player in Trevon Bluiett, who has offers from Purdue, Notre Dame and Indiana.
Park Tudor got a whole lot better when Bluiett, a 6-7 sophomore, arrived last year.
I about fell out of my chair when it was suggested by a reporter that Ferrell was one of the best guards ever to come out of Indiana. Really? Ever? Hmm.
I could think of two in the last couple of years that I’d rather have than Ferrell from Indiana: Marquis Teague and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Sorry, Yogi. That doesn’t include my own personal preferences like Bryce Drew, Chris Thomas, Damon Bailey and Steve Alford.
I liked Bowman coach Marvin Rea’s answer when asked about Ferrell’s uber talent.
“He’s a great player,” Rea said. “He’s probably going to get 50 on us but we’re not going to worry about that. Park Tudor didn’t get here on Yogi alone. They have other good players. We’re going to do what we do best and play good team defense.”
Schilling was effusive of Ferrell, calling him “a great player in a long line of great players from Indiana. He’s as good as there is.”
The problem here is that accomplishment, talent, production and potential are all intersecting at a strange place in Indiana high school basketball. Ferrell is certainly a great point guard and a great player in Class 2A, with a great legacy.
The resume just wouldn’t be the same if this were still a single class tournament or if Ferrell were playing on a 4A team.
The hype machine would certainly be different for him and the story line wouldn’t be this: Ferrell gunning for his second state title in three seasons.
And then off Ferrell goes to Bloomington next year to help get Indiana back to the Final Four. I’m wait-and-see on that one.
On paper, this is a great matchup. The best state finals of the four. This is the most talented Park Tudor team that has played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Bowman is better than it has ever been. Should be a great game.
Let’s write the headlines after the games are played. Bowman is ornery enough to ruin the going-away story for Ferrell.