That’s A Wrap: Derek Elston

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Derek Elston.

Final stats (34 games): 4.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 49.5% FG, 57.9% FT in 12.3 minutes per game.

With Cody Zeller’s addition to the Hoosiers in 2011-12, Derek Elston played (15.5 minutes per game in 2010-11) and scored less (4.9 points per game in 2010-11). And though we noted him as an x-factor heading into this season, it was the improvements of sophomores Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo that were more of a difference maker in Indiana’s Sweet 16 run.

Still, the Tipton native showed more maturity to his game in his junior season. While mental mistakes often plagued him during his freshman and sophomore campaigns, Elston cut down on those this year. Part of this was apparent on the defensive end of the floor. Elston committed 5.7 fouls per 40 minutes last season, as he struggled to defend without drawing contract and committed silly, unnecessary fouls. This season, Elston clocked in at 4.1 fouls per 40 minutes, a marked improvement.

Elston started the season strong scoring in double figures twice (11 points vs. Stony Brook, 10 points vs. Gardner-Webb) and nine twice (Evansville, Savannah State) on a blistering 69.5% shooting. But the injury bug hit, as he missed the Kentucky game in December and a broken nose suffered in practice kept him out against UMBC 12 days later. (Though, these were the only two games Elston missed in his junior campaign after he admitted before the season he was playing at less than 100 percent in 2010-11 due to a hernia.)

He had his best offensive Big Ten games against Iowa, scoring 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in Indiana’s home win against the Hawkeyes on Jan. 29. Elston also scored 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting in Iowa City, a game the Hoosiers lost  78-66 on Feb. 19.

The junior was also a contributor to Indiana’s strong 3-point shooting this season, as he hit 55.2% (16-of-29) from distance.

Bottom Line: While some of Elston’s per game stats were down due to playing less minutes, he actually notched the highest offensive rating (108.1) of his career. Elston, thanks to his strong 3-point shooting, also finished fourth on the team among regulars with an eFG% of 57.0. And outside of Christian Watford (18.7 DR%), he snagged the highest percentane of defensive boards on the team (17.1%).

Though Elston may never star on this team — especially with the influx of talent coming for his senior season — his final year in Bloomington could be one where he brings steady veteran play off the bench. And if Watford leaves early for the NBA, Elston could be called on a bit more than he was this year.

Previously: Jordan HullsMatt RothTom PritchardVerdell Jones, Christian Watford

  • jahhoosier

    Your last sentence = hammer meet nail meet head.

    If Watford leaves, Elston’s off-season development may be more important than the development of any other player. If Elston is good next year…and I firmly believe he can be a good player…then Indiana can absorb the body blow of Watford’s exit with minimal disruption.

    If he remains inconsistent and does not provide the rebounding necessary, then Indiana has to either play Sheehey at the PF, who is too short, or Hollowell, who is young and too light, or HP or Jurkin, who are not remotely ready.

    In other words, Indiana would need Derek to be the 2013 version of Matt Nover. (Of course, it WOULD be the 20th anniversary of that wonderful team…so maybe Karma is on our side.)

    In general, however, it would probably just be best for Karma to let Wat to come back and Derek to be the B10′s sixth man of the year.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I don’t know that I’d call Elston an “x-factor” in the coming year, but I would say that if he were to improve his interior defense and maybe his rebounding slightly, he would improve our front court depth (which is a little lacking) tremendously. Keep it up Derek.

  • Azur10

    a little off the Elston topic, but one reason I always strongly disliked Duke and UNC was the amount of top recruits they got and they subsequent logjam that resulted. I felt a lot of very very capable players suffered from the logjam and had their pro prospects dashed. I hope now that IU is back to national success, there isnt a greediness of always needing to get the top recruits just because you can, like having the 12th man on the bench be a would be star on a mid major team- but now because he’s on a stacked, deep team he sees no PT. I hope guys like Elston, Jurkin, Ron Patterson, and AE (who I feel will all be good enough to play pro somewhere) can see enough of the floor, be counted upon, and have enough exposure to be able to draw interest from the professional level.

  • Miamihoosier

     After watching Elston for 3 years, I really don’t see where he could be playing professionally anywhere, even in Europe or China.  He just doesn’t have the athletic ability most of those guys have at that level.      That being said, I look for him to be a major part of our success next year.    He is physically very strong at this point in his career, and will really bang on the new post players during practice.  They will need to get used to that if they want to be effective in the big ten.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    He was referring to this past season. He was mentioned in one of our pieces (which was linked) about potentially being an x-factor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jon-Robling/100000258874944 Jon Robling

    This was definitely Elston’s best year in the Cream and Crimson.  And like the article states, Elston got off to a nice start, but he did tail off.  What i noticed about Derek is, against athletic teams with size like Kentucky, Mich. St, Ohio St, and others he is really at a disadvantage.  I don’t know if that’s because he spends more energy playing defense and then defers offensively or if it’s just his minutes are down in those games because Coach Crean looks elsewhere.

    For Elston to be a weapon for IU next year, he needs to continue to improve his outside jumper.  I thought his jumper was improved this season, but it could be even better.  Derek is never going to be a lock down defender, but if he can be a stretch 4 in Coach Crean’s offense and knock down 2 or 3 jumpers a game to stretch the defense and on the flip side play solid Defense, then i think he’s doing his job.   

  • MillaRed

    The Tipton Tornado move during the Zeller dunk was one of the funniest things I saw this season.
     

  • Hardwood83

    First post nailed it. I was going to say all that…..but you already did.

    Btw, Thumbs up for the Nover reference. Elston needs to work on the crooked nose though.

  • Kelin Blab

    Elston had a good year and hope he develops more of his game next year. Would like to see him become more of an inside presence. Has the outside game but if he can work in the paint and be more physical he will be a huge asset to next years team.

  • CH

    I think Elston will have to improve greatly this summer to see many minutes next year. He has been a big disappointment to me. With his size he should be  much better defending and rebounding. If CWat leaves I just dont see Elston filling the void. Im not sure why people keep discounting the freshmen making big contributions next year. This isnt 1985 anymore. Freshmen come in much more prepared for the college game.  Has anybody watched pUKe the last three years? The movement is a top 3 class and these guys can play at this level immediately. I think JH gets alot of CWat minutes if he leaves. Maybe Elston will have a great senior season and prove me all wrong but if not there is plenty of talent waiting the wings.

  • IUMIKE1

    I know this will be a scary thought for you and I hope not to the extent that it makes you ponder a stint at the convent, but I was just thinking about that very thing. It was like I don’t even need to think about rebounding on this one just do the the Tipton Tornado with my pointing finger while CZ throws it down. Damn that was one sweet pass I just made.

  • IUMIKE1

    I know this will be a scary thought for you and I hope not to the extent that it makes you ponder a stint at the convent, but I was just thinking about that very thing. It was like I don’t even need to think about rebounding on this one just do the the Tipton Tornado with my pointing finger while CZ throws it down. Damn that was one sweet pass I just made.

  • MillaRed

    I plan on hitting a few homers in softball this summer. And each time the Tipton Tornado will be in motion. You think that will go over OK?

  • Aubreyhouse

    I look forward to watching Derek wearing the candy stripes next year.His potential to add to what Crean has built…. WOW!Strong leadership will make all the difference in a good or bad year.
     Maybe add a tatoo on the other arm for next season…    :-)

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Perhaps most importantly, his [possibly intentional] tripping numbers were down 100% this year.

  • Redyou67

    i never understood why so many other guys (roth, specifically) ended up ahead of elston on the depth chart. he seems like a guy that would be better with more minutes.

  • Davidfeigel

    Right, I was noting the difference between our expectations of him in 2012-2013 and our expectations in 2011-2012. Last year we were hoping he’d near elite… Expectations for him have dwindled a bit. Maybe it’ll be good for him, take some pressure off.

  • SCHoosier

    I can’t help but like this kid..and his shooting ability should give him some minutes next year. If WAT leaves..DE may get some more floor time if we need another big body to guard the opponets power forward. As several have pointed out..his lack of quickness…especially on defense..puts his minutes at risk against really athletic teams…but I have a feeling he will make it his purpose to show Perea what its gonna take to play down low in the Big 10. Hope DE has a great senior season.

  • b_side

    Quite the contrary, I think Elston does have some decent athleticism.  He’s pretty darn quick on his feet, especially when driving to the whole against other PFs.  In my opinion, it’s not the physical tools that are limiting his ability to play professionally overseas, it’s the mental game.  Those lapses, and a lack of court awareness at certain points, are why Crean has him on such a tight leash.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    We saw what he was like with more minutes when Verdell went down. He played well, but what is usually his undoing is a mental error, in many cases an offensive foul or a bad shot.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    We saw what he was like with more minutes when Verdell went down. He played well, but what is usually his undoing is a mental error, in many cases an offensive foul or a bad shot.

  • BFBlog

    Um, no. I want the best guys every year. The point is to win, not participate.

  • John

    He’s so much better than he’s shown.  Could be another Jarrod Odle if the chance presents itself …  with a better 3-point jumper.   
    Did you know that on a per-minute basis, Elston is far better statistically than Watford?

  • John

    This will be very hard, and I think the biggest challenge for Crean next year — how to keep all these good players happy?  He has 13 guys who deserve PT.  Hard to play 13 guys significant minutes in 1 game.  Somebody’s bound to be unhappy.  That means less chemistry, less teamwork, some poor attitudes.  And these freshmen, none of them have ever had to come off the bench much less ride the pine like I think 1 or 2 will have to do this year ….

  • John

    Exactly.  Elston is as athletic as Watford.  Just not quite the ballhandler.   But the mental game is the big problem.  He’s just not a smart player all the time, but has improved in that area.

  • John

    Exactly.  Elston is as athletic as Watford.  Just not quite the ballhandler.   But the mental game is the big problem.  He’s just not a smart player all the time, but has improved in that area.

  • GashausGorilla

     And his acting.

  • IUMIKE1

    If it doesn’t go over OK with someone it will more than likely end up being a PUke or pUKe fan and they don’t count anyway so put ‘er in motion.

  • IUMIKE1

    If it doesn’t go over OK with someone it will more than likely end up being a PUke or pUKe fan and they don’t count anyway so put ‘er in motion.

  • IUfanToby

    Not sure Elston knows much about playing “down low” in the B1G.  He has shown he prefers to operate on the outside (offensively) and is not at his best w/ his back to the basket.  Maybe you were referring to his defense…….

  • marcusgresham

    6’9″ shooter—Elston IS a Euro-type bigger guy. Bone up on your Dutch, Derek, you may need it.

  • marcusgresham

    6’9″ shooter—Elston IS a Euro-type bigger guy. Bone up on your Dutch, Derek, you may need it.

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