Yogi Ferrell officially received his trophy on Thursday for being named the NBA Kia Rookie of the Month for February.
Matthew Pfeifer, the district parts service manager for the Southwest Region of Kia Motors America, Inc., presented the trophy to Ferrell prior to the Mavericks’ 97-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.
Generously listed at six feet tall, Ferrell was an immediate hit with his flair for making crucial plays against some of the league’s best players.
“He’s energetic and he goes hard,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s really the most important thing about the way he plays.
He’s energetic and he goes hard. That’s really the most important thing about the way he plays.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle about rookie guard Yogi Ferrell
“He had some big scoring games early, but his overall energy and the force that he brings to the game is the reason he’s in the league right now.”
In his first game with the Mavs, Ferrell was put in the starting lineup and finished with seven assists and nine points – including two game-clinching free throws – in a 105-101 win at San Antonio. The next night, Ferrell had 19 points and five assists in a 104-97 win over the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Two games later, Ferrell poured in a career-high 32 points – and tied an NBA rookie record with nine 3-pointers – during a 108-104 win at Portland. Before that game, the Mavs signed Ferrell to a two-year contract that pays him $208,000 the remainder of this season and $1.3 million next season.
“I knew I wanted to make Dallas a permanent home for myself,” Ferrell said, in explaining his early success with the Mavs. “So I went out there with that mentality and just gave it my all, and that’s basically all it was to it.”
Ferrell averages 9.8 points and 3.7 points per game, and has given the Mavs a huge boost.
“Coming out of the minor league, those guys have a lot of adrenalin going. It’s an opportunistic type situation,” Carlisle said. “I know because my best game scoring-wise in my career came when I had signed 36 hours before and got through one shoot-around and played.
Going from a 10-day [contract] to rookie of the month is an incredible step and he deserves a ton of credit because he worked to get it.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about Yogi Ferrell
“Sometimes you just get thrown out there, and that’s the best way of doing it. He had a really tremendous run for three or four games and then it’s obviously going to level out some after that.”
The Mavs found Ferrell with the Long Island Nets of the National Basketball Association Development League, and now he’s the team’s starting point guard. But is that a job he’ll have long-term?
“He’s got to earn it every year because with Rick nothing is given,” owner Mark Cuban said. “But if he keeps on improving there’s no reason why not.
“Going from a 10-day [contract] to rookie of the month is an incredible step and he deserves a ton of credit because he worked to get it.”