The Washington Times-Herald

The "Z" Watch

January 30, 2013

Ferrell leads No. 3 Indiana into game at Purdue

(Continued)

BLOOMINGTON —

All four of those starters average double figures.

Yet, somehow, among this star-studded cast, Ferrell has found a way to carve out his own niche.

"The impact he's had on us defensively is amazing," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "For him to come out and defend guys like Keith Appling says a lot about him. The thing that's so rare, especially for someone that age, is that he has a short memory. He doesn't let mistakes stick with him, he just goes on to the next play."

The evidence is there. Through his first 20 games, Ferrell has 91 assists and 40 turnovers and is averaging 7.3 points.

Over the past five games, Ferrell has shown improvement in his shooting. While he's connecting on only 38.5 percent of his shots and 28.5 percent of his 3-pointers this season, Ferrell is 19 of 36 (52.8 percent) from the field and 6 of 17 (35.3 percent) from beyond the arc over the past five games.

Coincidence? No way.

"It's just getting in the gym," Ferrell said. "Vic and these guys have a tremendous work ethic and they'll pull me along with them to get extra shots up after practice."

About 100 miles to the northwest, Purdue coach Matt Painter is breaking in his own freshman point guard, Ronnie Johnson.

On paper, they look like twins.

Ferrell is listed at 6-foot, 178 pounds, Johnson at 6-foot, 170 pounds.

Both grew up in Indy and were considered the state's two top point guards in the recruiting class, and on Wednesday night, they'll renew their personal rivalry when Purdue (11-9, 4-3 Big Ten) hosts Indiana.

"Ronnie has a lot of responsibility playing as a true freshman at that position, as does Yogi Ferrell, and it's hard," Painter said. "It's hard each night to play both ends and run a team and understand what's going on. But he (Johnson) is coming on. He's doing some good things, we just have to get him to understand, especially when he gets frustrated, that he still has to run the team and make the best decision for Purdue."

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