The Journal Gazette
Saturday, March 26, 2016 10:01 pm

Yogi's career in the books

Terry Hutchens | For The Journal Gazette

PHILADELPHIA – Like the Little Engine that could, Yogi Ferrell kept chugging along until the very end.

He hit shots, made big passes and was the same floor general he had been throughout his four-year Indiana career. In the end, he just ran into an opponent that was too good and brought his college career to a close.

The senior guard from Indianapolis Park Tudor scored 25 points including four 3-pointers Friday night but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Hoosiers fell to top-seeded North Carolina 101-86 in the NCAA Tournament East Regional semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center.

With 23 seconds to play, Ferrell stepped off the court for his final time in an IU uniform, standing with coach Tom Crean, fellow senior Max Bielfeldt and junior Troy Williams for a few moments on the sideline before taking a seat on the bench.

Ferrell just listened as Crean thanked him for all that he had done for Indiana University basketball.

And the truth is he did a lot.

Ferrell leaves the Indiana program as the sixth leading scorer of all-time with 1,986 points, passing Alan Henderson (1,979 points).

He leaves IU as the all-time assist leader with 633, the all-time individual leader in games played at 137, and the school record holder in consecutive starts, also at 137. He also finished second in career 3-point field goals with 272.

He was a part of two outright Big Ten championships and advanced to the Sweet 16 in two of his four seasons.

In the postgame press conference, Ferrell tried to put a wrap on his career in words. But the finality of the moment was difficult.

"Emotions are high," Ferrell said. "To lose a game in the Sweet 16, and we didn’t get to where we wanted to get. But just reflecting back on all the four years I’ve had at IU, had a lot of accomplishments, and I felt I gave my all to IU. And at the end of the day I’m glad that Coach Crean took me to come to this university. I met a lot of people. Learned a lot of great things, and it’s just something that I’ll remember."

In his final Indiana game, Ferrell played 36 minutes and did all of the things he did throughout his IU career. He tried to put his team on his back and keep the Hoosiers in it, but the reality was it was too much North Carolina in this one. The Tar Heels shot 62.1 percent from the field in the first half and 51.6 percent for the game.

North Carolina made its first seven 3-pointers and had 11 for the game.

Ferrell was 6 of 14 from the field and 4 of 9 from beyond the arc. He hit 9 of 10 free throws. It was his ninth game this season with 20 points or more.

His teammates took a few moments following the game to reflect on what Ferrell has meant to them. Troy Williams, who scored 21 points on a career-high five 3-pointers, said Ferrell is just a great guy.

"Since I first got here, I’ve seen the hard work that he put into this program," Williams said. "I’ve seen how much it meant to him. I mean, throughout these years I’ve been with him always, everything I did is for the program, is for our seniors, and it’s always been for Yogi as well."

Williams called Ferrell "an inspiration" to both his teammates and coaches.

"It’s more than just a friendship; it’s like a family," Williams said. "I mean, the whole team is but Yogi, even his family took me in. He’s just a great guy and so is his family."

Max Bielfeldt, the fifth year graduate transfer from Michigan, only got to play with Ferrell for one season, but he said he really enjoyed the time he spent with Ferrell in particular.

"Yogi’s so invested in the team," Bielfeldt said. "He’s a heck of a teammate, just on the court, obviously, just the things you guys can see. But off the court, too, with him being a senior this year, this was basically his team. With him being here the longest and just doing everything he can. He’s just done a tremendous job of kind of being the motor for this team, making sure all of our heads are in the right places."

Bielfeldt said Ferrell’s toughness was something special.

"It’s something that a lot of teams lack," Bielfedlt said. "And you’re just grateful to have him on your side."

Crean admitted in his postgame remarks the finality of the situation was going to be difficult because of the affection he had for this team. And Crean has spoken on many occasions of how Ferrell is one of the most special players he has ever coached.

"Yogi is leaving here as one of the great winners, and there’s really no way anybody’s going to be able to take that away from him," Crean said. "He’s won two outright championships in four years. And he leaves obviously with the accolades, was a part of two of our three Sweet 16s in the last five years.

"What these guys have done is remarkable. And it’s been an absolute honor to coach them. And I can’t put it into words any more than that."

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