SEYMOUR, Ind. –- Sometimes, if you're Yogi Ferrell, it's OK to let 'em see you sweat.
Ferrell bears a point guard messiah burden. He's expected to boost Indiana to the national basketball championship promised land, and if that's unfair pressure to put on a freshman, well, his own future coach, Tom Crean, calls him a winner and “as good as any point guard in the country.”
Ferrell can handle that. He's faced soaring expectations since he was rated as the nation's No. 1 sixth grader. He helped Indianapolis Park Tudor to consecutive high school state championships and three straight state title games.
But in hot conditions, as Ferrell faces in Indiana All-Star workouts and exhibitions, the sweat comes out.
But then, so does the light-up-a-room smile.
Why not? Life is good. Ferrell is one of 13 Indiana All-Stars. Next week he joins an Indiana program favored to win the national championship.
You'd better believe he's pumped.
“I want to get there soon as possible and start working out with those guys, every day,” he says. “When I get down there, I'll be in the gym pretty much all the time.”
Ferrell knows he's not a finished product (witness his one assist, six turnover performance in Monday night's 104-97 Senior All-Star win over the Junior All-Stars at Seymour High School), with his No. 1 key learning to “finish amongst the big guys.”
“I need to get a floater, especially going into the lane,” he says. “I'm not going to be able to get all the way to the rim. Getting a floater would definitely help me in college.”
Ferrell gained insight from the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, whose floaters helped the Heat rally past the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs last month.
“I don't know how some of them went in,” Ferrell said. “I'm trying to mimic his floater a little bit.”
The 5-11, 165-pound Ferrell is also set to hit the weights.
“That's important for me. I'm a small guy. I don't want guys pushing me around.
“I'll be in the weight room a lot this summer. I'd like to gain 15 to 20 pounds before my first game.”
Ferrell says he figures to be a “facilitator” for veteran guard Jordan Hulls' three-point-thriving game, and get the ball where forwards Cody Zeller and Christian Watford can do the most damage.
As for how his college expectations mesh with those surrounding him, Ferrell says it starts with no summer off days.
“To be on a preseason No. 1 team is real exciting. I know we're not going to take that lightly. We'll work hard for it. We know we have a bull's-eye on our backs. Every team is going to give it us their all, so we have to keep working to keep that No. 1.
Ferrell finds motivation in finishing second to Hamilton Southeastern's Gary Harris in Indiana Mr. Basketball voting, 154-103, but that's not the focus now. He seeks another Indiana sweep of Kentucky, with games set for Louisville's Freedom Hall on Friday and for Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday.
“It's a great opportunity to be selected one out of 13 out of so many great players in the state of Indiana,” he said. “It's a great honor. I want to take this opportunity to the fullest and try to help my team win.”
Ferrell did contribute 11 points and seven rebounds against the Junior All-Stars. The Michigan State-bound Harris had 19 points. Glenn Robinson III, who is headed to Michigan, led all scorers with 21 points.
The juniors got seven points from New Haven's V.J. Beachem. Hamilton Southeastern's Zak Irvin had 20 points and six rebounds. Warren Central's Devin Davis had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The Indiana boys All-Stars have dominated their Kentucky counterparts, leading the overall series 86-42. No Indiana player wants that success to end.
“We're all great,” Ferrell said. “We can all play great together. We have to be unselfish and not have a one-man show. If we do that, if we lock down on defense and communicate, we can win easily.”
The Senior girls All-Stars were stunned by a Junior squad, 86-75. Their lack of practice (many missed workouts over the weekend because of graduation) showed. Norwell's Jessica Rupright, Indiana's Miss Basketball, had two points on 0-for-6 shooting. Snider's Akilah Sims had none points and three rebounds in nine minutes. South Side's Ariana Simmons had 13 points for the juniors.