GARY | Amari Ferguson likes to talk.
She's majoring in radio and broadcasting at Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts, so she's learning to ask questions and open up to people she's just met.
Where she had problems talking was on the basketball court.
In her third season as point guard for West Side, Ferguson's communication skills are starting to show.
The junior has led her team in scoring the past two seasons, and now leads her team in assists. With scoring threats DeJah Joshua and Dana Evans available, Ferguson is happier to run the show, now more verbally, from the back court.
"She's talking more this year," Cougars coach Rod Fisher said. "She's (been) quiet on the court, she's not quiet at all. She's funny to be around."
"I just want to win," Ferguson said. "We have a ton of players who can take over the game at any time. We're deep this year, so if they're scoring and they have the hot hand I'm going to give it to them. I just want to win, and I'm pretty sure they want to win, too."
The guard is a little more squarely focused on the perfect pass than the perfect shot, though her shooting has improved since averaging 10 points per game last season.
"To me a perfect pass, I'll use a post player for example, when they're right under the basket and it makes them easier to score, that to me is the perfect pass," Ferguson said. "I try not to do too much. Coach Fisher would say 'try not to over-pass,' so I'm working on that, too."
The Cougars, who play Class 4A No. 6 Logansport in Wednesday's Region Roundball Rumble, missed Ferguson for three games. Her return showed how far she's come in the last three seasons.
"Two of (the missed games) didn't bother us, but when we went down to Indianapolis we played Tech and we didn't play well and that was basically why," Fisher said. "Now that she's back in, we're playing a lot better, a lot more team ball and she's why.
"She's more of a true point guard as opposed to a scoring point guard. Plus, she's been in the system for three years and is more on the ball than the rest of our guards."
Ferguson has seen her defense and shot improve with hard work in the last year. Though she only uses the shot when there's no player to pass to, she said she's happy to find herself in the spot of "floor general."
This is where her outgoing personality takes over.
"I like to make people laugh," Ferguson said. "I'm a funny person and more outgoing.
"I know how to run the floor better to get my teammates open to get them the ball."