He received a standing ovation. A little kid almost fell over his seat in front of him out of pure excitement.
Senior point guard Yogi Ferrell was being introduced at Hoosier Hysteria on Oct. 24, 2015. The former 5-star recruit was returning for one last season in Bloomington. The guy who was once ranked as the No. 1 high school player in the country as a 5th grader was back.
On Tuesday, the 6-foot, 180 pound Ferrell etched his legacy into the record books, not just in our minds.
With only a few months left in his career as a Hoosier, Ferrell became IU’s all-time assists leader with a line drive no-look pass out of a double team to set senior forward Max Bielfeldt up for an easy layup.
His 553 passes resulting in baskets are more than greats such as Michael Lewis, Quinn Buckner or Damon Bailey ever compiled. He has the record.
Ferrell is building his statistical achievements piece by piece. In IU program history, he finished the game ranked 11th in total points and third in 3-pointers made.
His legacy won’t come down to the number of records he has or the number of SportsCenter worthy performances. His legacy will likely come down to what he accomplishes when this season is all said and done.
No one will argue the fact that Ferrell is one of the greatest players in IU history. But if his career would end tonight, it would be composed of a Sweet-16 appearance, a first round exit and a no-show to the NCAA Tournament.
He wears the number 11 on his jersey just like Hoosier legend Isiah Thomas did. He has Thomas’ swagger and plenty of ability. He does not have the team success Thomas had.
This is his year to change all that. Regardless of how the season ends, though, he has himself No. 1 on a list.
When he broke the record with a pass fitting of the way he plays, Ferrell was swarmed by teammates and the crowd began chanting his name. The crowd loved him and he deserved to enjoy the moment.
He is leading a team on an 11-game winning streak and 6-0 in the Big Ten. Ferrell is the lone senior with IU who played on the 2012-13 team that was No. 1 in the country.
We talked in October about how this is the year to make his mark. We had our doubts after Maui and Duke. But we don’t judge teams by basketball in November and December.
We also don’t judge teams by a winning streak in January, as impressive as it has been.
Ferrell will be judged by what happens in March and April. But for now, Ferrell can go to sleep at night knowing he has created more baskets with a pass than any player in the long history of IU basketball.
Not so bad, right?