HOOSIER SCOOP SAGE TAKE OF THE DAY, Oct. 31, 2012:
The question has festered in Indiana University basketball-oriented internet chatrooms for months now, prompting much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Who starts at the point for Indiana this season, senior Jordan Hulls or freshman Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell?
Once that cyberspace battle line was drawn, combatants on both sides ferociously entered the fray determined to offer no quarter. Each side questioned the other’s intelligence, sanity, motives, loyalty to IU and ancestry. And those were the more polite exchanges. It seemed strange that, given the level of vitriol sometimes employed, they were technically on the same side in that they all were purportedly Hoosier fans.
My take on it: Way too much ado about nothing.
Because, here in Bloomington, we’d seen this sort of situation involving Jordy Hulls before. And we’d seen things turn out pretty well, suffice to say.
It was the autumn heading into the 2008-09 season and Hulls was the star senior point guard of a preseason No. 1-ranked, Bloomington-based team. And one of the reasons for that top ranking was the arrival of a brand new, star backcourt partner. The younger guard was named Darwin “Dee” Davis, Jr., who was transferring from Bloomington High School North to Bloomington High School South for his sophomore season.
Davis was a terrific, mercurial talent, a really fine all-around player, if not quite the shooter Hulls was. He was quicker than Hulls, with a great handle and tremendous court vision. He was more purely a point guard. But South had already experienced significant success, in previous seasons, with Hulls running the show.
So the situation begged the question. Who would play point?
The answer: They both did, in a sense. More precisely, they shared ball-handling and distribution duties at first, with Hulls gradually shifting to more of a shooting-guard role, at which he excelled. Davis eventually became the primary floor general, but Hulls remained the face of the team, its go-to guy. Hulls still incorporated point-guard aspects into his play, still dishing some sweet dimes, but also moved well when off the ball to unleash his lethal jumpers.
Hulls is a team guy. Period. He’s already shown that he’ll share duties, or alter his role, to accommodate the best interests of the team. Whether the talented newcomer carving out some time at point guard is nicknamed “Dee” or “Yogi.”
It’s a college context now, of course, a different level of play (and South didn’t have anybody resembling Cody Zeller on its frontcourt.) There could be issues on the defensive end, perhaps, if Hulls and Ferrell are oncourt together against a team with some bigger perimeter players. But there should be no worries on the offensive end. It just means better ball-handling and better passing, all around, with both of them on the court, and with Hulls freed up more to torment foes with his near-50 percent firing from 3-point range. The same sort of thing happened down the stretch last season when Victor Oladipo started handling the ball up top more. Hulls will get more and better looks with Ferrell out there. It should be fun to watch.
So not to worry, Hoosier fans. It serves well to remember how things turned out the last time Hulls made this sort of transition, accommodating himself to an additional point guard in the best interest of the team:
South played 26 games Hulls’ senior season. It won 26. It posted an unbeaten championship campaign. South won it all.
Nice precedent, right?