Yogi Ferrell
Pacers.com

Ferrell Finds Familiarity on The Fieldhouse Practice Court

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

About 15 years ago, Yogi Ferrell was shooting around at the side baskets on the Bankers Life Fieldhouse practice court. Just another young kid dreaming of playing in the NBA one day.

Friday, he was back on the same court, a draft prospect working out for the Pacers, a young man dreaming of playing in the NBA one day. It nearly qualifies as coming full circle, although the circle really doesn't become complete unless he actually plays in the NBA.

Whether or not that happens for the former Indiana University point guard is difficult to predict. He's regarded as a borderline pick for the end of the second round of next Thursday's draft, but at least he's not going to go unnoticed. Friday's session was his 15th for an NBA team and he'll be in Boston on Saturday for one more. He also drew the largest media contingent of the 42 players the Pacers have brought in for group workouts.

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The former high school All-American at Park Tudor could have stayed with his parents and driven over to The Fieldhouse, but he elected to join the five other candidates in a downtown hotel.

"It's a business trip," he said. "I stayed in a hotel everywhere else, I might as well here."

Ferrell can't afford anything but a business-like approach. He's 6-foot tall, for starters. And while he's certainly athletic, he doesn't appear to have the extreme degree of quickness and speed most sub-6-footers in the NBA possess.

He'll need to shoot well, which he did at IU by hitting 42 percent of his 3-pointers last season. He'll also need to prove he can defend on the perimeter, along with displaying intellect and leadership. According to multiple practice observers, he did all those things on Friday, and left a positive impression.

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Still, Ferrell is realistic about his place in the draft, which might wing up being just outside of it. DraftExpress, for example, rates him as the 63rd best prospect in the 60-player draft, and his name doesn't appear in most mock drafts.

He knows there are advantages to picking your own team to try out for as a free agent, however, rather than being selected by a team that might not have much of an opportunity for you.

He described himself as "confident enough" but "not over-confident" about being drafted, and believes he has moved his name higher on draft boards with his workouts. Friday's performance seemed to be another indication of that.

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"I won't be discouraged by (not being drafted)," he said. "It probably would be better to go undrafted, to pick a team that gives me the best opportunity."

He finds hope in the fact the NBA seems to be growing smaller, with more emphasis on 3-point shooting. Boston's Isaiah Thomas, 5-foot-9, was an All-Star last season. Toronto's Kyle Lowry was an All-Star the past two seasons at 6-foot. Ferrell thanked both of them Friday for "pleading my case for me." Tyler Ulis, 5-9, is regarded as a borderline first-round pick and Kay Felder, also 5-9, is a likely second-round pick.

So, anything could happen for Ferrell on draft night. One thing he knows for sure, though, is that he made the right decision to return to IU for his senior season. He said Friday he was 70 percent leaning toward entering the draft after his junior season, but gradually came around to completing his college career.

"It was one of the best decisions I could have made," he said. "It helped me increase my draft stock."

Whether or not it was enough to get on The Fieldhouse's main court in an NBA game, he'll know next Thursday.


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Draft Workouts: Yogi Ferrell

June 17, 2016 - Four-year Indiana star and Park Tudor grad Yogi Ferrell had a pre-draft workout with the Pacers on Friday. Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss spoke with Ferrell about going through the pre-draft process.

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Draft Workouts: Yogi Ferrell

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