It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today, we conclude the series with Derek Elston.
It’s the first title that comes to mind for Derek Elston in his rapidly-approaching junior campaign.
After a disappointing 2010-11 season — one riddled with injuries, as Elston revealed to the media in August — the Tipton native coming into his own this year could be a key component in just how successful the Hoosiers will be.
Last season, Elston was a part of Indiana’s fouling problem. He finished third on the team in fouls committed per 40 minutes (5.7) behind the departed Bobby Capobianco (10.7) and Tom Pritchard (6.5). Beyond his heavy foul rate, he, like many of his teammates, also struggled to stay in proper position on defense, though some of that may be attributed to injuries which limited his lateral quickness.
On the offensive end, he improved his effective field-goal percentage year over year (50.0 to 52.4 percent) by being efficient inside the arc (61-of-108, 56.5 percent). Outside of the arc, however, Elston struggled (3-of-17, 17.6 percent). He was also the top defensive rebounder on the team among regulars (defensive rebounding percentage of 21.3).
If he’s able to move past his injuries of last season and find the missing spring in his game, Elston figures to benefit from dump-offs and open looks around Cody Zeller. And if he can find a 3-point stroke again to couple with his strong two-point shooting, there’s no reason he couldn’t find himself as a low double-digit average scorer, more than doubling his 4.9 points per game mark from last season.
Elston’s shooting ability and size can also create a mismatch on the perimeter.
Best-case: Elston comes out of the gate strong, and establishes himself as a strong secondary scoring option in Indiana’s offense.
Worst-case: Elston fails to mature, is hampered by injuries and doesn’t reach his potential.
Quotable: “Right now, I just want my defense to be to the point where I can guard a three or a four or a five; I got to be versatile. The team’s playing so well right now that you got to be versatile or you’re not going to see the floor. So I got to be able to guard multiple postitions and I got to be able to bang down low.” — Elston to the media in August.