Yogi Ferrell has grown up and is leaving a lasting legacy at Indiana

At the beginning of the season, there were questions. Is he a leader (or can he be a leader?), is he a good teammate, can he help IU compete for a Big Ten title?

All of those questions and more have been answered by Yogi Ferrell, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week. Indiana’s senior point guard, and the choice of many to be the Big Ten Player of the Year, has had an outstanding season.

Remember in the offseason when he announced a press conference to announce what he was going to do this season? It was an immature moment and laughable, too. Where was he going?

Yogi Ferrell has grown up and is putting the finishing touches on his legacy at Indiana.

Yogi Ferrell has grown up and is putting the finishing touches on his legacy at Indiana.

He returned — no, really he continued on — at IU to play out his fourth and final season in Bloomington. Ferrell was a huge signing for head coach Tom Crean back in 2012 when the program needed a strong class to surround Cody Zeller.

Like many of the immature moments at IU over the last few years, Ferrell’s recruiting class calling itself #TheMovement was one of them. (It wasn’t nearly as dumb as those off the court problems that have been addressed, though.)

Hanner Perea, Peter Jurkin, Kevin ‘Yogi’ Ferrell, Ron Patterson and Jeremy Hollowell. And only Ferrell remains.

And you know what he has done? He has taken on a leadership role, worked hard, improved his game, and helped IU to its second Big Ten regular season title in four years. He won it as a freshman point guard with Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and company, and he did it on his way out.

That’s how you leave a legacy. That’s how you leave a program in better shape than you found it. And it’s one of many reasons, again, why he’s going to receive votes for Big Ten Player of the Year.

What’s next for him? Coach Crean had an interesting comment after IU’s 81-78 win at Iowa on Tuesday night, which secured the outright Big Ten regular season title.

“When this season’s up, if he’s not an NBA guard with a guaranteed draft spot and contract somewhere, then I’m really losing my feel for what basketball’s all about because I think he’s that good,” Crean said.

Yogi has started 132 games in counting, more than any other player in program history. He easily surpassed the 1,000-point mark and is nearing 2,000 with 1,892 points.

It was in games like IU’s win at Illinois that stick out in my mind. He played determined basketball and refused to let his Hoosiers lose. Then, it was Yogi that hit a dagger 3-pointer a few nights later at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Ferrell leads the team in scoring (17.1 ppg), and assists (5.5); he grabs 3.9 rebounds per game, is shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 42.8 from outside. He is durable, starting in all 30 games this season.

It’s unclear what is next for the Indianapolis product but he is sure to get some looks in the NBA. Being just 6-feet tall doesn’t help his chances to make it in the pros. But, he has become a player that I would want on my team and a guy I would happily go to work with on the basketball floor.

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