ITH Super Happy Fun Time Player Profile: Derek Elston

  • 10/07/2009 6:00 am in

elston100609Hoosier Hysteria is on the horizon and it’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2009-2010 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Derek Elston.

Derek Elston, the first player to commit to Indiana’s 2009 class, made the call to become a Hoosier in September of 2007. After his decision, he watched Indiana go from a top ten team during the 2007-2008 to a program decimated by Kelvin Sampson’s excessive phone calls. Once Tom Crean was hired, it only took a couple of conversations between the coach and the player to decide that Elston’s commitment was still a perfect fit.

At 6-8 and 225 pounds, the Tipton (IN) forward has the body to play inside and the versatility to step out and play the three. He averaged 19.8 ppg and 10.8 rpg his senior season and finished third in the voting for Mr. Basketball. His ability to rebound and defend will put him in position to play major minutes from day one. It’s not out of question that he could lead IU in rebounding this season.

What remains to be seen is how much Elston has improved his mid-range game over the summer. Mechanically, his stroke is very sound and if he can consistently knock down shots from the perimeter, he becomes a much tougher player to guard. He’s also a solid ball handler and when he doesn’t finish in the paint, he consistently gets to the line and knocks down free throws.

Bottom Line: After flying under the radar nationally, Elston will get his chance to show his top-50 talent immediately in Bloomington. He probably won’t become a prolific scorer until later in his career, but his contributions on the glass and interior defense should be felt right away. Alongside Bobby Capobianco, Christian Watford and Tom Pritchard, Elston will help anchor a front line that could be better than expected.

Quotable: “Derek deserves a lot of credit because he stayed loyal to Indiana through all the turmoil. As everyone knows, he committed to the previous staff and shortly after we got the job he came up to see us. He’s the unsung hero of this class because people around the country have forgotten how good he is because they haven’t had a chance to see him. He is tough and can rebound the basketball in addition to playing multiple positions on the front line.” – Crean on Elston.

Back in time, 25 months to be exact:



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  • Kelin Blab

    The moment I have been waiting…..Derek Elston, having seen him play and play against Dashaun Thomas, I think he could be that player who after 4 years at Indiana could not only be a fan favorite but the guy in this class that we are glad he is on our side……

    I like physically he is big ten/D-1 ready, I like his toughness, and I like his game inside and out. What he brings to the table this year, is he can defend a back to the basket post or a robby hummel type of player…..and that is a GOOD thing! Offensively, I don't see much of a difference in what he offers with Christian Wateford…

    Finally, at Midnight Madness with KS I remember Elston not getting any love, and he stood up, on his chair and made the crowd cheer for him……De-rek El-Ston Clap Clap – Clap Clap Clap. I think he is an “Indiana Kid”…..

  • plane1972

    Could Elston be another Eric Anderson? Rebound, run the floor and have a nice inside/outside game to be a dependable 2nd or 3rd scoring option. That would be huge!

  • James

    I am legitimately more excited for Elston to get on the floor than anyone else in this class. I think people are going to be very surprised with how good he actually is. While he is not going to be the mismatch nightmare that Waftord will eventually be, Elston is going to be one helluva Hoosier for many years to come

  • chicohoosier

    i have a feeling elston is going to be the type of player that indiana is all about, hard working, great funadmentals, overall great skill set and hes got the physical capabilities to fit in perfectly in the big ten. he look like a guy well love to love and opposing fans are going to hate.

  • GFDave

    I agree with everyone's comments. Derek is going to give IU a lot over his four years and I think he will have immediate impact.

  • BGleas

    For those that have seem him, how would you compare him to Hummel as far as his game and both immediate impact and potential down the line?

  • JerryCT

    I believe he had microfracture surgery 2 years ago. From my own personal experience his knee should be either healed completely or giving him problems. Does anybody know about the status of his old injury and Capo's leg ?

  • Name

    He is stronger than Hummel. His shot is not as near consistent as Hummel. I mean how many people's shot is. He can shoot well, and will only improve. He is definately fast enough to guard Hummel. I wouldn't compare him to Hummel even though they do share a lot of the same skills. He is a guy that is very versatile. While Hummel has the advantages of dribbling and scoring, I will take Elston in the post all day. That is why Elston is going to be soooo effective. Most 3's aren't as strong as him. He will be able to dominate on the glass and take people off the dribble and finish strong of off penetration. He is a very hard worker. I have heard nothing but positives about the kid. His high school coach said that he came into school early a lot to work on his ball handling and shooting. Coach Crean is going to get guys that want to work hard, do things the right way, and be proud to rep the Cream and Crimson. Lets get it hoosiers!

  • MillaRed

    I too think Elston and Hummel are different players. Put them both in an alley and Derek would clean his clock. Robbie is more finesse and Derek is stronger, relies more on being in the right place at the right time. Hummel as of right now can probably take him off the dribble. No way could he post him up.

    I'm not sure he'll have the same numbers as Hummel as a frosh because Purdue had a lot of talent around Robbie.

    I think he'll be more of a Joe Krabbenhoft that can shoot better. Opposing fans will hate him, yet envy IU. He may be the best thing we have going for an all-around 4-year player. I love this kid.

  • Alan78

    I have a good friend who works for an area radio station broadcasting HS basketball games. Twice he did play by play for Tipton vs. FW Luers. He claims Thomas is a more gifted player, but Elston works harder and is really gifted. Thomas' team was superior, but he said Elston completely out played him in the regional this spring.

    He will be a 4-year player, and I think we are going to LOVE having him on the team. I am so glad Crean was able to keep him!

  • Diesel

    I'll play resident medical expert and would be happy to oblige throughout the season.

    I believe Elston had a meniscus repair where the cartilage is acutally sutured back together and he was non-weightbearing for several weeks to allow for healing and then it's basic knee rehab from there. Should be 100% at this point, typicaly takes about 4-6 months for this type injury.

    Capo had a fracture and I don't know the specifics, but I don't believe it was surgical so he should be 100% as well.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Derek Elston is ready to contribute right now. He is flat out tough and I was extremely impressed with him every time I saw him play for Tipton. I remember a game he played against Franklin Central last season in the Hall of Fame Classic at New Castle. Elston dominated Purdue recruit Patrick Bade.

    I think the main reason he was ranked lower than expected is the injury that forced him to miss a lot of AAU summer ball. Him being underrated and largely ignored by the national media clearly irks him and he will use it as motivation.

    Elston is a Hoosier and I love having guys that know what it means to play for IU. I think he will come off the bench at the 3 or the 4 and he might even start some games for IU this season. If he can hit a 15-20 foot jumper consistently, Elston will see the floor a lot. I have seen some comparisons to Robbie Hummel that I don't think are fair just yet. When healthy, Hummel is one of the best players in the country. Elston is not as good a shooter as Hummel and he is not as quick. He might get there in time but it is not fair to compare him to Hummel at this stage.

  • Name

    I am gonna have to disagree. Obviously he is not the same player skill wise, but Elston is just as fast as Hummel. I have seen him on the AAU circut and he often guarded shorter and faster players than him and did fine. He may look slower because he has such a thick build, but he is much more athletic and a lot faster than people think.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Derek Elston is ready to contribute right now. He is flat out tough and I was extremely impressed with him every time I saw him play for Tipton. I remember a game he played against Franklin Central last season in the Hall of Fame Classic at New Castle. Elston dominated Purdue recruit Patrick Bade.

    I think the main reason he was ranked lower than expected is the injury that forced him to miss a lot of AAU summer ball. Him being underrated and largely ignored by the national media clearly irks him and he will use it as motivation.

    Elston is a Hoosier and I love having guys that know what it means to play for IU. I think he will come off the bench at the 3 or the 4 and he might even start some games for IU this season. If he can hit a 15-20 foot jumper consistently, Elston will see the floor a lot. I have seen some comparisons to Robbie Hummel that I don't think are fair just yet. When healthy, Hummel is one of the best players in the country. Elston is not as good a shooter as Hummel and he is not as quick. He might get there in time but it is not fair to compare him to Hummel at this stage.

  • Name

    I am gonna have to disagree. Obviously he is not the same player skill wise, but Elston is just as fast as Hummel. I have seen him on the AAU circut and he often guarded shorter and faster players than him and did fine. He may look slower because he has such a thick build, but he is much more athletic and a lot faster than people think.