As rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell continues to surprise many with the way he quickly jumped right in and fit right in with the Dallas Mavericks, there’s one man who is not surprised at all.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.
Carlisle has been happy with what he’s seen from Ferrell, who the Mavericks signed to a 10-day contract last Saturday.
“He’s going hard and he’s reacting and being aggressive,’’ Carlisle said. “I told him when he first got here that we needed a point guard who was going to be an aggressive scoring threat in order to make other good things happen.
“I don’t know that this is his sort of traditional style, but he’s adjusted and he’s done a good job. But it’s two games and he’s still learning stuff, but he brings good energy and he’s got to continue to do that.’’
It might have been just two games, but it wasn’t just any ordinary two games.
Ferrell’s first game with the Mavericks was Sunday night in San Antonio against point guard Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs. And his second game was Monday night against Kyrie Irving and the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Spurs have the second-best record in the NBA and the Cavs have the third-best. However, Ferrell collected 28 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and six steals in the two games while playing like a seasoned veteran.
The success by Ferrell – he was playing for the Long Island Nets of the National Basketball Association Development League before getting the call from the Mavericks – has altered his life and brought more attention in his direction. Well-wishers have heaped praise on the 6-foot playmaker from Indiana.
“Just a few texts (from) friends and family saying congratulations,’’ Ferrell said after Wednesday morning’s shootaround at American Airlines Center. “I’m taking full advantage of the opportunity and they’re just proud of me.’’
Ferrell played 10 NBA games with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this season. But the bulk of his pro experience prior to joining the Mavericks came in the D-League.
And since he’s on a 10-day contract, finding the balance to trusting his own game to trying to fit in with his new teammates has been somewhat complex.
“It’s a little bit tough, but I’ve got to kind of stick to my strengths, too,’’ said Ferrell, who has started both games with the Mavericks. “ When I come on a 10-day, trust my abilities, see what I can do when I go out and just try and contribute.’’
Ferrell’s contributions were big reasons why the Mavericks were able to take down the Spurs and Cavs on back-to-back nights. It also speaks to his mental toughness as he transitioned from the D-League to the NBA with no hiccups.
“The biggest transition is a bigger stage, bigger moments,’’ Ferrell said of going from the D-League to the NBA. “You just got to be ready, but I felt like the D-League really prepared me for that.
“(There are) a lot better guys, personnel (in the NBA). You’ve got to be clicking every single day, every single game, every single possession. You can’t take moments off.’’
The Mavericks (19-30) hope Ferrell continues to flourish Wednesday night at 7:30 when they host the Philadelphia 76ers (18-29) at Amercian Airlines Center.
Meanwhile, despite his early success, Ferrell hasn’t heard anything from the Mavs about him going ahead and reaching a long-term contract with Dallas for the remainder of the season.
“I feel like that’s just all between the Mavericks and my agent, and my agent will let me know,’’ Ferrell said. “I’m just focusing on basketball right now and just trying to show my abilities.
‘”Hopefully, if that comes, I’ll be very thankful for it.’’
That thankfulness will also be appreciated by the Mavericks
“Look, he’s had two effective games because he’s going hard and he’s playing a team-oriented game,’’ Carlisle said. “The thing I like about him probably more than anything is he gives you an unconditional energetic effort on defense, and he’s great with game plans.
“We’re early in the process here. I’m not sure what realistic long-term expectations should be, but so far a lot of positives.’’