Why I like (and don't like) Jim Ferry

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by Rogabee

A lot of the initial reaction to Ferry seems negative. However, do NOT count me among those that want to run to Palumbo with a pitchfork in my hand if Ferry is the next Dukes head coach, as it is being reported by Colin Dunlap that Amodio has offered Ferry a deal. Ferry was third among my initial list of coaches, and it appears the first two (Dambrot and Paulsen) were not available. While not a perfect candidate, he's more than adequate and I believe will fit in extrememly well at Duquesne. Personally, I'd be more than content with a Ferry hire.

Jim Ferry, What I Like:

1. He's a winner everywhere he's been. Don't discount the mindset of someone who's just a winner, which is what I believe Ferry is. Give him time, he will do things the right way and eventually succeed.

2. The uptempo system. Ferry runs literally among the most uptempo teams in the NCAAs. In the last couple of years, Ferry's teams have been 2nd, 3rd, 102nd, 80th, and 39th in the NCAA in adjusted tempo. With the last couple of years being among the most uptempo teams in the country, the team should overall have less trouble adjusting to a new system.

3. The way the uptempo system is run Dukes fans will likely be happy with. It's a somewhat liberally subbing typically eight-man rotation IIRC.

4. He seems like he can still coach a halfcourt game from the little I've seen. While I've seen very little of Ferry in halfcourt sets, in the game vs. RMU last year when it slowed down at the end I was fine with what I saw in the halfcourt set.

5. He is adaptable. When he didn't quite have the team to run and gun three years ago, he slowed it down somewhat and rather than being in the top couple in the country he was only in the top third or so.

6. I don't think the last two years are simply outliers but are rather the progress Ferry has made at LIU. Last year's 15-seeded NCAA team I think was actually better than Dambrot's Akron team from the two games of each team I watched. One NCAA tourney team may be an aberration, but I don't see two consecutive ones being aberrations.

7. Life on the road. The 2010-11 season, Ferry led the NCAA in road wins with 13. Yes, a lot were against lesser competition, but remember that given the choice of playing at the #175 team vs. playing the #80 team at home according to Sagarin would yield virtually identical win percentages. Anytime a coach gets in double-digits with road wins, count me among the impressed.

8. Wanting to go inside. Despite the uptempo style, I was not surprised to see the two leaders in shot attempts by the PF and C the last couple years. Ferry's teams are more than fine pounding it inside, and will go for high quality shots despite trying to get the game as helter-skelter as possible. However, there's also a huge potential negative with this (later on #3 thing I don't like).

9. Building a Program. Ferry's done it for the most part the right way. The talent is there to be among a top 5 NEC team ever next year (I disagree with Steve on potentially the best NEC team ever, as Culpo and Garner from what I saw did a lot of little things that typically go unnoticed that will be missed, and Culpo's outside threat will also be missed.) However, there is plenty of talent back to make a run at even potentially a low 14 or high 15 seed in the NCAAs and to get the NEC out of their typical 16 seed. He's found the right mix of a JUCO or two to fill holes as well as increasing the recruiting to levels not previously seen by Blackbird fans.

10. Not really much of a reason to hire him, but he does have good success vs. RMU. For the talk about going after Toole, I think Ferry is more likely to succeed here than Toole.

11. Despite the lack of size (more on that in a minute), LIU was 111th in the country in rebounding percentage. It is seemingly more of a toughness issue Ferry has created on the boards rather than a height one.

12. Length and Athleticism of Ferry's teams. They'll fit in fine in the A10 mold.

What I'm Neutral About:

Seemingly a lot of Ferry's recruits are from Texas. While I don't mind going after Texas products, I do wonder how recruiting those from Texas will fit into DU rather than New York City.

What I don't Like:

1. DEFENSE! Some may point to the points given up as a byproduct of the extreme uptempo system. I'll disagree somewhat with that. I simply don't think Ferry's teams have been very good on the defensive end. Opponents often were able to get high-quality shots against LIU. While I'm not sure if that was a product of limited recruiting in the NEC, I'm extremely worried on the defensive end. It's not like Ferry's teams took practically every gamble like Everhart's did either, as they were much more prone to try to defend on the ball. Expect a huge decrease in turnovers forced if you're looking at a difference between Everhart and Ferry.

(Sidenote: For those looking up stats on KenPom or other stat sites it's not as bad as it seems there. Recall for Pomeroy for example that blowouts aren't discounted on either the offensive or defensive ends. So, late in blowouts,defenses typically let down as either lesser quality players are entered into the game or the starters don't play as hard. Also note LIU has a much greater proportion of blowout games to the remainder of NCAA basketball thanks in part to their uptempo style as well as their conference (that actually also includes Ferry's initial games, which were often blowouts as losses).

2. Disciplined teams still oftentimes give Ferry fits. No different from what we're used to here as schools like Columbia, ODU, as well as systematic B1G teams have caused Ferry's LIU team fits.

3. Height on the roster. I know this is going to irritate a LOT of people, but the tallest guy on the roster the last two years was 6-7. I'm hoping that had more to do with only being able to get NEC talent, but it's a huge concern.
LIU started: 5-10, 5-10, 6-1, 6-7, 6-7. Their first guys off the bench are 6-1 and 6-7.

4. Foul issues. The Blackbirds under Ferry fouled among the leaders in the country. Once again, from my limited viewing of the teams, it wasn't just the product of going uptempo though. It was in my opinion more an issue of being out of position defensively more than they should have been.

5. Turnovers. While you expect a sloppy game with the number of possessions LIU plays, Ferry's teams have more than their fair share of turnovers. It will look a lot different than RE's teams that took very good control of the ball despite his tempo if we get Ferry.


Overall, what I think I see is an upgraded version of Everhart. The teams will play very similar styles, though Ferry's upside is much higher as I believe that he is not only a rebuilding type, but also one that can get to the next level (as shown by the 31-1 record at Adelphi, where at one point Adelphi was ranked #1 in the country as well as two NCAA appearances already from rebuilding LIU). I see more of the upside in the areas of overall offensive efficiency including free throw shooting, teaching overall shooting, and slightly better in player development.  Going back to my first thing I like...he's been a winner everywhere he's been, and I think Ferry's a winner overall. I think we'll be just fine with a Ferry hire.

by Rogabee
Discuss on Yuku