This year’s Nets squad is a team of second chances, and no one knows that better than former Indiana star Yogi Ferrell.
Ferrell — who spent four years dominating the Big 10 backcourt in a Hooiser uniform — didn’t hear his name called on draft night. He was certainly disappointed, but the point guard is determined to seize his opportunity in Brooklyn with both hands.
This is the second chance he’s been waiting for, and Ferrell wants to prove he’s worth it.
“I’ve read a few stories about guys that have gone undrafted and made teams,” Ferrell said. “I knew that, when I had that opportunity with the Nets, I was going to take it. I had a great feeling here when I worked out pre-draft with the staff, coaches — what they wanted to accomplish for their upcoming season. I was just excited to come here.”
Ferrell signed with the Nets this summer after competing with the team during the Vegas Summer League. He averaged 8.8 points, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 rebounds in 17 minutes per game.
Brooklyn’s roster is chock-full of guards, but Ferrell is positive there’s a place for him in the backcourt.
“I see myself fitting in as a guy that’s going to be a hawk defender,” Ferrell said. “Defend the ball full-court, coming in and giving the starters or the second unit that extra push. When I go out there, I want to be a leader and facilitator.”
Ferrell’s time in Vegas was productive, not only from a stats angle, but also because it gave him the chance to work closely with first-year head coach Kenny Atkinson.
Atkinson has a reputation as a players-first coach, developing young guys on and off the hardwood. It’s a reputation that attracted Ferrell to Brooklyn in the first place, the guard said.
“He expects great things, and with him, each day, you want to get something out of it,” Ferrell said. “It’s just simple things. He wants you to go out on the court and make simple decisions, don’t hesitate your game.”
Ferrell also had looks from the Celtics, Thunder, and Knicks, but he said Brooklyn was the best fit.
It also helped that this season’s Nets roster boasts some serious youth. Ferrell doesn’t see that youth as an obstacle. He sees it as a strength, because youth means one thing — the team is just as determined to prove itself as Ferrell is.
“Youth gives us the ability to understand each other’s strengths. It helps us build the chemistry with one another,” Ferrell said. “The rest comes forward with your talent, your work ethic, and how you go about your business.”
Ferrell knows this season will be a challenge, and whether he ends up on the Nets roster or competing in the D-League, the former Hoosiers star is simply grateful for an opportunity. He’s going to keep playing basketball — no matter what.
“To come here and be part of something like this — where it’s rebuilding — is something special,” Ferrell said. “So what I’m trying to bring to this team is my leadership, my energy, and my enthusiasm. I’m going to try and go out here and make every day better.”