Last Friday afternoon, Yogi Ferrell and his Long Island Nets teammates were in Pennsylvania, preparing to play a National Basketball Association Development League game against the Erie BayHawks.
Then he received a very important phone call.
On the line was Ferrell’s agent, with news that the 6-foot point guard had to hurriedly pack his bags because the Dallas Mavericks wanted to sign him to a 10-day contract.
“When I got the call from my agent, I was about to play a D-League game that night,” said Ferrell, a rookie from Indiana. “About five or six hours before, my agent called me and said the Mavericks are going to sign you to a 10-day.
“They flew me right to Dallas immediately.”
Thus, instead of going over a Nets game plan that would have him guarding BayHawks point guard Gabe York, Ferrell was rushed onto a flight to Dallas. And on Saturday, the diminutive point guard was engaged in a film session and a game plan that would ultimately have him guarding six-time All-Star and four-time NBA champion Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
For Ferrell, this was the whirlwind of all whirlwinds. But instead of spinning out of control, Ferrell looked very much in control as he started the game, scored nine points, added seven assists and picked up a couple of steals in 36 minutes to guide the Mavericks to an improbable 105-101 victory over the Spurs.
The next day, Ferrell was matched against three-time All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, whom the Mavericks beat 104-97.
The final Ferrell-Irving head-to-head numbers:
▪ Irving finished with 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and six turnovers and was a meager seven of 21 from the field in 33 minutes.
▪ Ferrell had 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, four steals and two turnovers, and was seven of 15 from the floor in 38 minutes.
The dynamic back-to-back performances by Ferrell helped the Mavericks become the only team to defeat the Spurs and Cavaliers this season on consecutive nights. Ferrell, a Greenfield, Ind., native, went undrafted last summer.
“He’s on pace to have one of the greatest 10 days of all time,” forward Harrison Barnes said. “He’s just playing with so much heart.
“And offensively and defensively, he’s had some tough match-ups. But he’s brought it every single night and the guy is giving us a chance.”
Winners in seven of their past 10 games, the Mavericks (18-30) will host the Philadelphia 76ers (18-29) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks hope what they’ve seen from Ferrell is the norm and not an aberration.
“He had two great nights and he deserves this,” said coach Rick Carlisle. “He’s a kid who has worked extremely hard, went undrafted, which we were surprised by.
“This is great for him and it’s a great opportunity for the next seven or eight days [on Ferrell’s 10-day contract]. Or whatever it is.”
Ferrell’s contract expires Monday. By then, the Mavericks will have played three more games.
Until then, he’s busy returning a lot of phone calls from well-wishers who always knew he could star on the NBA level, who always knew his hard work would one day pay off.
“I am living the dream right now,” Ferrell said. “I am on cloud nine right now.”