For the first time in his young NBA career, Yogi Ferrell gets to play against the team that gave up on him.
Ferrell went undrafted last summer, but ended up playing on the Brooklyn Nets’ summer league team. The quicksilver point guard later signed with the Nets on Aug. 5, but was waived on Oct. 21 after playing in three preseason games.
From there, the Nets’ National Basketball Association Development League squad – the Long Island Nets – signed Ferrell on Nov. 1. Ferrell was eventually called back up to the NBA by the Nets three times, but he never could find any solid footing with their franchise.
“I spent many months with them, especially in a hotel,’’ Ferrell said on Friday morning. “I had a great time with the Nets –in training camp, a new staff there.
“I learned a lot from them. It got me to this point here.’’
In dire need of point guard help, the Dallas Mavericks rolled the dice and signed Ferrell to a 10-day contract on Jan. 28. The 6-foot- tall playmaker was so impressive that the Mavericks skipped the customary routine of signing Ferrell to a second 10-day contract and instead signed him to a two-year deal that’ll pay him $208,000 this season and $1.3 million next year.
In the meantime, Ferrell was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for February. Now he’ll get to show the Nets (11-52) what they miss when the Mavericks (27-36) entertain Brooklyn tonight at 8 at American Airlines Center.
Nets point guard Jeremy Lin has been impressed with what he’s seen from Ferrell, who is averaging 12.4 points and 5.1 assists in 17 games with the Mavericks.
“I think he’s one of those guys who everybody labeled him as something probably because of his height or something,’’ Lin said. “But he’s much better than what the draft board indicated, and I knew that.
“I think our whole team kind of understood that just playing with him and against him in training camp, so we’re definitely happy for him. He’s just a competitor, so you have to match his energy and go out there and compete against him as well.”
The Mavericks are 11-6 since Ferrell’s arrival.
“It’ll be good to see some familiar faces, some guys I came up with my first NBA team – the organization I was with,’’ Ferrell said. “But I’m just going to approach this game as if it’s any other.
“I know we’ve got one goal in mind and that’s to get to the playoffs right now. So it’s just another game.’’
The opportunity didn’t work out for Ferrell with the Nets, but he’s not fretting about it.
“You only need one team to fall in love with you,’’ Ferrell said. “So Brooklyn didn’t like me, so they got rid of me, I came to Dallas and they love me.
“I’m glad it worked out here, and it’s not always going to work out maybe the first or second time, but at times it’ll work out.’’
So, since, in Ferrell’s words, the Nets didn’t like him, does that mean he’ll be playing with more incentive?
“A triple-double, yeah, that would be nice,’’ Ferrell said. “A double-double would be even nice, too.
“I’ve still got to get one of those. I’ve been close a couple of times. But you never know, it could be tonight.’’