Indiana point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell just recently got his passport for the first time because he’s never been outside the United States.
He hopes he needs it next week when the USA World University Games team leaves for the competition in Kazan, Russia. The roster will be cut later today.
“I’ve never been out the country so why not Russia, you know?” the 6-foot Ferrell told SNY.tv by phone from training in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“It would be a big dream to go over to Russia and represent the USA team.”
So far in camp, Ferrell has been matching up against Minnesota’s Andre Hollins, Stanford’s Chasson Randle and New Mexico’s Kendall Williams.
He believes this experience — whether he makes the final cut or not — will help him next season.
“I think it will make me become a better player just to see a few things I need to work on,” Ferrell said. “What better opportunity than to go against some of the top guards, top players in the country, to see the different things I need to work on to try and get better to help my team win?”
Two of Ferrell’s former teammates — Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller — will be taken in Thursday’s NBA Draft, and Ferrell figures to have a bigger role next season after averaging 7.6 points and 4.1 assists last year.
“I feel like the team can be really good,” Ferrell said. “We’re very young. We have six new freshmen and one new transfer [Evan Gordon from Arizona State], but I feel like we’re going to be a fast team, especially. Those young guns like to get out and run really, and if we just play as a team I feel like we’ll be alright.”
Ferrell said he’s been especially impressed with incoming frosh Noah Vonleh and Troy Williams during practices.
“They’re very explosive, man,” he said. “They’re athletic. I know Noah touched like 12-1 as a vertical and Troy has this crazy rise. One thing I noticed about Troy, he’s a great finisher. When he gets a break in the lane, he always finishes very well. And Noah is a big man that can dribble, can shoot, can pass very well. I’m very surprised at how well Noah picked up our system and eased on into it this year.”
Ferrell said 6-8 sophomore forward Hanner Perea has also impressed.
“He’s shooting it a lot better,” he said. “He has a lot more confidence this year because he feels like one of the veteran guys this year, so he can step up. Sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell “is definitely playing a lot better, especially with his handle and his shooting.”
As for the Draft, Ferrell said he was excited to see where Zeller and Oladipo get picked. Both will be in the green room.
“I definitely want to see those two guys, see where they get picked,” he said. “Pretty exciting moment for them and for IU.”
A year or two from now, Ferrell could be in a similar position.
“They always did something to make their game better, whether it’s getting extra shots up after practice or getting a lift in,” he said. “Pretty much whatever it takes to make the game better and I feel like they kind of it passed it on down to myself and the younger guys. That’s what we’re always working in the gym.”
For now, Ferrell is hoping to make the World University Games roster and then take his first trip overseas.
He says he’s not worried about the flight, though.
“I think I’m good,” he said. “I’ve taken enough flights just for basketball so I think I’ll be alright.”