I'm Yogi, Kaleb, Kelsey, and Khloe's mom ... just taking life one basket at a time.

Here, I write about my experiences as a sports parent.

And right now, there is a good chance I am somewhere watching sports.

Follow me on Twitter: @DocLibby

#IUBB #GYMNASTICS

Insight on Yogi’s Decision to Stay and an Upcoming Season Full of Promise

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The last few weeks have been a time of reflection combined with excitement for the future that Yogi has worked so hard to create.

It is my hope that his experiences, especially the process of reaching his recent decision, have taught him a ream of life lessons that have a positive impact on who he is and what he loves to do.

He has certainly learned that fans can be unrelenting.

As I go back and sift through the plethora of comments and analysis on whether he should stay or go, it’s easy to form a less than flattering opinion of the fan base. Forgive me if I’m a little jaded coming fresh off of a season where the IU men’s basketball team was booed at home by their own “fans.” Comments such as “Good luck overseas” were comical at best.

We can accept constructive criticism, but social media allowed some people to hide behind the keyboard and their cute, unassuming avi as they spewed their pessimistic and jaundiced view of Yogi and the fact that he would even consider leaving early.

Good enough to lead us to another banner … but not good enough to even consider the NBA.

Shame on him for wanting to continue doing what he loves: play basketball.

Some individuals had a more public platform to shed their non-enthusiastic views of the state of the Indiana University Men’s Basketball program, and the current comings and goings. I suppose every sports program has their very own Rush Limbaughs.

While that portion of the fan base was loud, it was also small. What we have learned above all is that Yogi is loved and appreciated at Indiana University.

It is a joy to have the nugatory comments overshadowed by the true fans.

It is no secret that Yogi leaves it “all on the floor.” EVERY practice. EVERY game. Those who have realized that have given Yogi the respect as a basketball player that he deserves and blessed him regardless of his decision to stay or leave.

He certainly is an IU legend in his own right, and he will certainly continue to add to his accomplishments while he joins other elite players on the IU roster this season in the culmination of his four-year endeavor to hang another banner.

The support of so many individuals, including family, teammates, coaches, and fans, helped Yogi sustain a positive attitude while he made his decision. He felt the love of many and the acrimony of only a few. He knew what he had to gain by staying and he knew what he had to gain (yes: gain) by leaving.

The most wonderful thing about either decision was that either way he would continue doing what he loves: playing basketball.

Hoosier nation can now breath a sigh of relief.

I myself have been waiting to exhale since that loss in Nebraska.

As a parent, I sat by encouraging Yogi to make the choice that he himself could live with for the rest of his life … without wondering “What if?” I encouraged him to stay off of social media and sports blog sites. Everyone has an opinion, yet his was the only one that mattered.

Of course I weighed in with my wishes. It was no secret that I wanted him to stay for primarily educational reasons. He hopefully now is understanding the importance of secondary schooling.

Chances are, whatever path he chose for next year, he likely will be done playing basketball before or by the time he is 30 years old. Then what? Now he’ll have a college degree and an opportunity to stay in the sports world as a coach, commentator, or whatever sports-related endeavor he wishes to pursue.

Basketball has always been plan B.

Naturally, I took advantage of my unique position as his Mother to convey my wishes, but I assured him that I would support him no matter what. I successfully lined up a few of my own former college basketball players who one found themselves in the same position of the stay-or-go scenario. I wanted Yogi to get a full picture of what he was contemplating.

Yogi ultimately made his decision having done his research. The decision was not taken lightly.

Selfishly, I’ve become wedded to the Assembly Hall, which was definitely another reason I wanted him to stay. It’s my getaway, if you will. I am not ready to leave any more than Yogi is.

So, yes, education is the motivation to stay, but Hoosier Nation provides great incentives as well, without a doubt.

Thoughts on the future

This team is now “perfect” … or so I am told. But I beg to differ.

I feel like the recent teams of the past have had a great combination as well. After all, we’ve had guys like Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, and Noah Vonlah. Were they not good enough for a national championship? No one would argue that they are not elite players.

We are now adding more top Rivals players, but they are “green.” Will they be ready to play? We can only hope so.

I hope that the leadership of the seniors and other upperclassmen on the team help this 2015 team to gel cohesively and quickly. If the past three years have taught me anything, it would be to not over-predict the success or failure of a team before the games begin.

Preseason predictions are sometimes no more than best guesses using tarot cards and a crystal ball. Yogi knows all too well — that a number one ranked team can be beaten by a lesser regarded team any day of the week. Skill certainly contributes to success, but heart and luck belong in a winning recipe as well.

I shall remain optimistic and hopeful nevertheless.

Here’s to a year of hanging banners and breaking records.

Here’s to another year of candy stripes.

Here’s to another year of “Are you Yogi’s Mom?”

Here’s to another year of Assembly Hall and being the sixth man.

Here’s to another year of sideline coaches and radio hosts.

Here’s to another year of basketball know-it-alls … who have never played or coached a day of basketball in their life.

Here’s to another year of blogs and people who claim they never read them.

Here’s to supporting Coach Crean and being crucified for it.

Here’s to not having it any other way.

Here’s to one more year.

And hopefully one more banner.

Calling All #IUBB Fans: These Hoosiers Need Their 6th Man Now More Than Ever

Hanner and Yogi

IU has millions of fans (especially when the bandwagon is full), but only a select few are able to grace the presence of Assembly Hall on a regular basis.

17,472 to be exact.

The Hall may not be as full as we would like these days. Some say the student section has been light as of late. And when the fans don’t show, it’s obvious how quiet it can get in a building that usually has a deafening atmosphere.

I don’t know about you, but I take my position as a sixth man pretty seriously.

My seats are better than most, admittedly. When I yell at the players and tell them to stay “locked in” while they sit on the bench for a short rest, it is heard by all the players and the coaches. I am the sixth (wo)man.

I apologize to anyone who sits around me before the game ever starts. I am passionate about this IU team. Win or lose, I will be cheering until the clock ticks to 0:00.Continue Reading

IU Basketball Team Dealing With Epidemic of Poor Choices by Players Who Should Know Better

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Boy, oh boy.

What an offseason we have had.

The season hasn’t even started and the Indiana University Men’s Basketball program has been in the news just about as often as the Ebola epidemic — but seemingly more deadly.

Many have noticed that I have had a deafening silence after the incident involving my very own family member, my beloved son Yogi. I had a lot of thoughts about Yogi and his poor decision on that dreaded day last April, just several days short of his 21st birthday.

I’ve gotten both positive support and negative reprimands from the IU fan base. Most have said that they too have a son or daughter who has done the exact same thing — fake ID and underage drinking — and some admit that they did it themselves as well.

Though the sentiment is understandable, it is far from comforting.

It is only a reminder of how common underage drinking remains on college campuses.  The problem is not immune to any race, lifestyle, or socioeconomic status.

So how did I feel? I went through so many emotions. First, I was furious!  Then, once word starts filtering to the public, it becomes embarrassment. And I’d be lying if if didn’t say that I was also in denial, protective, and angry at anyone who had negative things to say about Yogi.

As Yogi grew up, he was constantly reminded of the dangers of alcohol. As I have mentioned previously, working late nights as an anesthesiologist at the county hospital I have seen far too many horrific accidents that were the result of alcohol-related incidents. But despite my preaching (until I was blue in the face!), Yogi is a young adult in college, away from home, making his own choices.

The wrong choices.

And unfortunately, it is becoming an all-too-common theme with this team.

So who is responsible?

We all need a fall guy. Unfortunately, the chosen one is Coach Tom Crean. After all, it is his responsibility as head coach right? Even he has said that he will place the blame on his shoulders.

It is no mystery that I am an avid Coach Crean fan. I’m clearly not on any bandwagon. I love this guy win or lose. He is not a coach… he is family.

Do I sometimes disagree with his coaching? Sure, but what family agrees on everything?

Coach Crean is an extension of a parent to these young men. I had 18 years with Yogi, in what I feel is a strong Christian home, with no tolerance for irresponsible activities. Coach Crean has had them for two years. How would I expect him to change the character of a young adult that he is just becoming acquainted with?

I do not point the finger at Coach Crean when Yogi did what he did. That should fall squarely on Yogi.

If you are a parent, especially of teenagers, you know that young adults will try to test their limits. Do they know right from wrong? Of course they do. Do they always make the right decisions? Of course they don’t.

I guarantee that each player understands the consequences of their actions. But what is stronger that any adult advice you ask? Peer pressure. Those two words have bought many great men and athletes to their knees.

On the recent suspensions …

To that I say, let the punishment fit the crime. It’s tough love and I welcome it.

Whether it involves my child or one of my “sons” on the team, I say man up and grow from it. Become a leader as a result of it.

Their recent actions were irresponsible and senseless. We cannot turn our heads the other way to indiscretions or NCAA rule violations. I do not condone it, nor will I support the particular transgressions.

This isn’t a college athlete lesson. This is a life lesson. Follow the rules or pay the price.

The character of the team has been called to question. They have been called a leaderless, partying, and unfocused group of men who lack the ability to produce enough wins to make it to the NCAA tournament, let alone a bid for the NIT.

I’m here to to tell you that there are plenty of players on the current team that possess leadership ability, but who have yet to realize their full potential.

I don’t want my support of this team, the coaches, or the players, to be misconstrued as saying I’m okay with what’s happening. It’s undeniably a bad situation. In my opinion, some colleges are better at hiding it than others.

At IU, we follow the rules, so the spotlight is on us.  We will continue to hold our athletes to a higher standard.

On the court …

Now on to the team and what can be expected for the upcoming season.

A new season brings new possibilities. Yogi was certainly the backbone of the team last year, but this year expect a different kind of player. His role will again change. He went from a facilitator as freshman to a combination guard his sophomore year, with pressure to score as well as find the open man.

This year, with outside help, the focus will no longer be on Yogi. The court will be shared by the likes of James Blackmon, Jr. and Rob Johnson, which means that film review will be a little tougher for our competitors. Rival schools will need to develop a defense that can counter our ability to spread the floor, which should create open lanes for the drives of Stan Robinson and Yogi.

Due to the recent suspensions, the first four games will show us the chemistry that has developed between the trio of Blackmon, Johnson, and Yogi. And I am looking at it as a glimmer of good in all of the recent adverse events.

With the limited roster, the starting lineup will most likely be consistent, and they will gel together in a semi-competitive atmosphere that will hopefully foster a relationship on the court that will extend into the Big Ten season.

Yogi can again settle in as a true point guard similar to his freshman year. However, don’t expect for him to settle for the assist record. He will continue to pad his 3-point stats. He spent his summer training (in Texas and Chicago camps) and perfecting this shot. I suspect he will use it.

And although we do not have a true “big man,” I do believe that Troy Williams and Hanner Mosquera-Perea will rise to the occasion.

Indiana basketball will go on

The sound of the net as the ball caresses it on the opening shot of the season will be music to my ears.

It will represent the reality that regardless of the indiscretions of each player, however big or small, nothing will ever be enough to stop the crazed fans in candy stripped pants from flocking by the thousands into Assembly Hall. Parents will still bring their little ones doting there favorite players jersey, hoping to get an autograph of their favorite player.

This is a plea to the fans to hang in there.

This is still Indiana Basketball.

Thoughts on a Season of Highs and Lows, and Noah — Will He Stay or Will He Go?

First things first …

Yogi not being named to All-Big Ten 1st Team is unbelievable.

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Naturally, I’m extremely biased, and perhaps some of you will agree with him being on the 2nd team (which no doubt is still an honor), but this is my post, so I get to vent.

Is there a category for Most Improved? If not, there should be.

No hard feelings though. It definitely gives us something to look forward to next year.

We don’t hold grudges and we don’t focus on something we have no control over. But it will create a drive that will foster late night dates with a theme of hardwood floors and leather that is all too familiar for top NCAA basketball players.

We shall live to see another year. Stronger. Better. Smarter. Inspired.

Season of highs and lows comes to and end

As we dribble toward the end of another season, we can’t help but look back at the good and bad times.

Although the bad undoubtedly outshines the good this season, the Indiana University men’s basketball team once again created memories that will last a lifetime.

  • We were able to rush the floor at least once this year.
  • We won when we thought we should have lost and lost when we thought we should have won.
  • A player became homesick.
  • Expectations were shattered.
  • New hope has been restored.

We will no doubt live to see another year of highs and lows like an ESPN special … which I’m sure will be boycotted by me at some point during next years season.

However, next season does hold promises.

What will Noah do?

We are certain of the talent that will be arriving. And, like clockwork, at the end of any season we worry who will stay and who will go.

noah-docSome worry about Yogi’s timeline, but most overindulge on the idea of our star center Noah Vonleh.

Despite the fact that we have shown that we can function without out him for one game, would we be able to develop into a team next season without a strong center?

Yes, I have more information than most as to the expected future of the team, but I’m not privy to the last word on what Noah will do.

I’m just as selfish as the rest of you when it comes to holding onto Noah for just one more year. As a parent of a star player, I’ve often wondered how I would counsel Yogi when it comes down to should he stay or should he go.

Here’s the speech I would give Yogi (and Noah):

The final decision is yours.

It’s one that you have to live with, although many will have their input, no doubt loaded with persuasion that somehow fits into their own agenda.

Should you decide to stay, you can improve on your already blooming skill set. You can help a team advance deep into an NCAA tournament.

But you will also run the risks of injury or moving down the draft board as the pieces on this chess board are rearranged and reset after every season.

If you are projected to go in the top 10 (with the understanding that nothing is guaranteed), then the money offered right now does not compare to what you will be offered at any other point in your life.

You can always finish school. I encourage you to finish school. An uneducated person with money will soon become front and center in the unemployment line … dreaming of what once was.

As the Bible says, a fool and his money are soon parted.

Seek after your education with the same passion and consistency that you have for basketball. Fill the void that will most likely haunt you when the lights and fans have moved on to someone else.

The average career of an NBA player is approximately 4.7 years. What will you do after you’re done?

You can’t play basketball forever and an education gives you a solid future. No one can take away your education. Don’t become a washed up NBA player (60% go broke after being in the league).

As Noah future remains ambiguous, I will sit in anticipation with the rest of the general public when he gives the final word on if he will stay or go.

He’s got a fan for life, regardless of whatever he decides to do.

The future is bright

Hints of next year’s team are promising.

  • Troy Williams is finding himself and realizing his potential.
  • Stanford Robinson will be the slasher who will continue to find seemingly impossible ways to get to the basket.
  • Jeremy Hollowell will gain the confidence he needs and emit the passion as a strong forward.
  • Yogi will improve on balancing his role as a facilitator and playmaker.

These young athletes are still pliable and developing.

Coach Crean …. well, he’s Coach Crean. No doubt he will continue to recruit top players with the help of his staff.

I’m confident he will look back over the last year and use it to evolve his game and coaching skills as well. The summer will be a time for reflection and growth.

Big Ten Tournament

Thursday we will be watching our Hoosiers enter into the Big Ten Tournament.

As they work on their physical game this week, I hope that they have the mental stability to play 40 minutes of fundamentally sound basketball that is not plagued with sloppy ball handling and poor shot selection.

After each inevitable missed field goal, I pray for a lazy short term memory of the players as they keep up energy and enthusiasm during these taxing end of the season rituals where only one team will remain standing.

If Indiana can win a tough matchup against a hot Illinois team, then #1 Michigan will await. I’m sure Michigan isn’t excited about a potential matchup, because they know that the Hoosiers will give them a run for their money … especially on neutral territory.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. I’ve said more than once: You rank ‘em, we spank ‘em.

On Yogi’s Recruitment and the Impact of Social Media (Plus a Message to the Naysayers)

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Yogi’s 5th grade AAU picture

I decided to give this blog post to the fans.

I gave the readers an opportunity to ask me some questions this time around.

What was Yogi’s recruitment like? (via @MisterFindley)

As many of you know, recruiting started fairly early in the Ferrell household.

Once the article placing Yogi at the top of the fifth grade hoopers list was released, things became a bit different.

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My Take on the O.W.I. Arrest, the Purdue Loss, and How to Keep a Positive Attitude

The lure of alcohol lurks on all college campuses.

There are plenty of young minds that fall victim to the temptation without knowing the responsibility it takes to consume it.

I don’t drink. I never have. I cannot pretend to know the temptation that surrounds its consumption.

It is more prevalent than anyone wants to talk about; that is, until someone is thrust into the spotlight after an unlawful act that surrounds it.

Until then, it’s the ugly girlfriend that you hang out with in your apartment because you’re afraid of what someone will say when they see you two together.

As an Anesthesiologist, I have had my nights and weekends interrupted numerous times by a victim or driver that consumed too much alcohol. I have seen the results, and it’s not pretty.

To say boys will be boys is irresponsible and in a way gives a free pass.

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Hoosiers and Their Fans Must Forgive, Forget … and Fight on to the Finish

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I felt like I was left at the alter Wednesday night.

The lull in the pit of my stomach still sat heavy a day later. It was a beautiful ceremony that ended with a desperation play in 6.1 seconds.

The seats had already started to empty two minutes prior because we had this one in the bag. The formality of the clock winding down was all that was left.

But instead, myself and the rest of Assembly Hall stood in amazement.

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On Yogi’s Leadership, Lucky Socks, and That Respectable Loss at The Barn

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When Yogi plays well, we win. When he doesn’t play well, we lose. 

I read this in a post recently.

At first glance it is likely to be a misconstrued as a conceited statement, but the statistics tell the tale. I worry what this does to Yogi’s psyche.

The coaches want him to be a leader. The fans want him to be a leader. His teammates need a leader. He wants to be a leader.

He IS a leader.

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