Yogi Ferrell hit the ground running Saturday morning.
The Dallas Mavericks’ newest point guard was on the practice court bright and early, digesting as many of the team’s plays as possible. Then he signed a 10-day contract with the Mavs with hopes of being a stop-gap for a team that has been besieged with injuries in its backcourt, including guards Deron Williams and J. J. Barea.
“It’s an overload of information, that’s for sure,” Ferrell said. “Coming into a new program, here at 8 a.m. ... but that’s how I am.
“I’m glad they took me out here early, to get to know the guys well, get to know the organization and the system that they want to run, so I can get acclimated easy and get into the games.”
It’s an overload of information, that’s for sure.
Point guard Yogi Ferrell about getting ready to play one day after joining the Mavericks
To make room for Ferrell, the Mavs waived popular point guard Pierre Jackson, who had been playing well lately, but strained his left hamstring during Thursday’s 109-98 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Ferrell, meanwhile, went undrafted out of Indiana last summer and averaged 5.4 points 1.7 assists in 10 games this season for the Brooklyn Nets. But the bulk of his playing time came with the Long Island Nets in the National Basketball Association Development League, where he poured in per-game averages of 18.7 points and 5.8 assists and shot a healthy 39.8 percent from 3-point land.
“Yogi is one of the guys high on the call-up list in the D-League, so we’ll take a good hard look at him and he’ll get some minutes here,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We need him because we need guys that can get the ball over half court.”
Yogi is one of the guys high on the call-up list in the D-League. ... We need him because we need guys that can get the ball over half court.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle
Carlisle wanted Ferrell at American Airlines Center early to get him up to speed because he plans on using the speedy playmaker when the Mavs (16-30) visit the San Antonio Spurs (36-10) at 6 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Center.
“We brought him in at 8 in the morning, we ran through stuff with the interns, we looked at film with him,” Carlisle said. “Some guys absorb things quicker than others.
“He’s demonstrated that he’s as quick a study as we’ve ever seen. High basketball IQ really makes a big difference in these situations.”
By the end of his junior season at Indiana, Ferrell showed his high basketball IQ as he was the only player since Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas in 1981 to lead the Hoosiers in scoring and assists in back-to-back seasons. Last year the 6-foot, 180-pounder was a third-team All-American and a member of the Big Ten All-Defensive squad.
The Mavs basically had a walk-through practice session on Saturday, so they couldn’t see what all Ferrell can give them.
“I just heard he’s a smart player and he’s crafty and can play,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “He’s going to get a chance to obviously show it with the amount of injuries at the guard spot that we’ve got.
“So he’s obviously needed, and hopefully he’s going to have a great debut (Sunday).”
The main thing is just playing with confidence. You can’t worry about a turnover, a missed shot – it’s just all about the next play.
Ferrell’s brief tenure in Brooklyn taught him to be ready to flourish at a moment’s notice.
“The main thing is just playing with confidence,” Ferrell said. “You can’t worry about a turnover, a missed shot – it’s just all about the next play and just playing your game.
“The few games that I had with Brooklyn I felt really prepared me for this, as far as what teams want when I go out there, and just how they want me to produce.”