Beating the Spurs? Check. Beating the defending champions Cavaliers? Double-check. That’s what Yogi Ferrell has accomplished in his first two games as a Dallas Maverick. A University of Indiana product, Ferrell has turned heads during his brief return and he isn’t even halfway through his first 10-day contract with the Mavs. Call it a D-League awakening.
Despite the great start with the Mavs, this isn’t Ferrell’s first taste of NBA action. After going undrafted in June, Farrell latched on with the Brooklyn Nets, playing 10 games and averaging 5.4 points per game before being waived in December. Back at the Barclays Center with the Long Island Nets — Brooklyn’s first-year NBA D-League affiliate — he was able to re-establish his value, becoming one of the more consistent players in the D-League. In 23 games with Long Island, Ferrell averaged 18.7 points and 5.8 assists. So when the Mavs suddenly needed a guard to help their injury-ravaged backcourt, Ferrell was a perfect fit.
It all started with a phone call on Saturday. Ferrell was about to suit up for the Long Island in Erie, Pa., when he learned the Mavs wanted to sign him to a 10-day contract. An undrafted rookie, Ferrell had to scramble to get on a plane to Texas, and the next day was starting against the San Antonio Spurs. Talk about getting thrown in the deep end. With Ferrell manning the show, he helped the Mavs accomplish something they hadn’t since 2010: beating the Spurs at the AT&T Center. He pitched in 9 points and 7 assists in the contest.
The next day Ferrell helped the Mavs to another improbable victory, this time over the defending NBA champs. Dallas hadn’t beaten a LeBron led team since the 2011 Finals and this time around Ferrell played an even bigger role, pouring in a career-high 19 points to go along with 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 dimes. Perhaps more impressive than the stat-line was his composure, including a three and a layup that put the game away in the fourth quarter.
More and more players are proving that time in the D-League pays off. Staying the course and working hard can lead to good things at the next level. So what is Ferrell’s response to this charmed new beginning? “I am living the dream right now,” the 23-year-old said after Monday’s win. “I am on cloud nine right now.”