Derek Elston Archive
INDIANAPOLIS — It was all fun and games Thursday night at Cardinal Ritter High School. An Indiana alumni team consisting of Jordan Hulls, D.J. White and others played a Purdue alumni club made up of JaJuan Johnson, David Teague, among others.
The pace was fast, the defense was non-existent, and the result, meaningless.
Well, maybe not for Hulls.
The former Indiana guard missed four consecutive jump shots down the stretch, allowing Purdue to sneak away with a 110-106 win before a capacity crowd.
After shaking hands with his teammates and flashing a mostly obligatory smile, Hulls retrieved the game ball, and continued to shoot 3-pointers before another one went in.
Not much has changed for Hulls.
“I was like, ‘Really, Jordan?,’” his mother, Joni, said afterward.
For Hulls and teammate Derek Elston, Thursday night was the last fun exhibition game before life in the real world begins. Both have signed professional contracts overseas — Hulls in Poland and Elston in Malta — and will depart in August (Hulls) or September (Elston).
“I’m not counting down the days,” Hulls said. “It’s a business now so you have to take care of your business, make sure you’re in shape, getting workouts in. Go over there and enjoy it, but be prepared for whatever happens because it’s a little bit different than what we’re used to.”
The recently-engaged Hulls admitted heading to Poland will make planning a wedding a little more difficult. He will leave the United States on Aug. 18, and his fiancé won’t be going with him.
“She’ll probably visit me a couple times through the year,” Hulls said. “We’ll make it work.”
Elston doesn’t have a fiancé to worry about, but he will face similar challenges in Malta. The former Indiana forward has spent a lot of time since the season working on his jump shot, and it looked quite good on Thursday night. The Tipton native made a number of deep 3-pointers against the Purdue alums.
INDIANAPOLIS — Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls will soon begin the next step in their basketball careers as professionals.
Elston will leave for Malta next month and Hulls for Poland later this month. Inside the Hall caught up with both players last night following the Knox Indy Pro-Am at Cardinal Ritter for an update on what’s next as they prepare to head overseas:
Former Indiana forward Derek Elston became the fourth player from last season’s Big Ten championship team to sign a professional contract earlier this week when the Tipton native inked a deal to play in Malta.
Here’s an official release from IU on the signing, including comments from Tom Crean and Elston:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Derek Elston, who will earn his Master’s Degree in Sport Administration from Indiana University this summer, has signed a professional contract with Floriana Francesco Fenech Greens in the Maltese Powerade League in Malta, an island located south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea.
“We are excited that Derek has this opportunity,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. “He has continued to work hard since the season ended and he has developed a great spirit about himself after facing many physical challenges throughout his career. More than anything, however, Derek will leave IU this summer with two degrees in hand and for that, we are extremely proud.”
The Maltese Powerade League begins in October and runs into May. Last year, Floriana won the regular season title and defeated Athleta in a decisive fifth game of the playoff finals to claim their first-ever league championship in the 35 years the team has existed.
“The first thing that went through my mind was relief in being able to keep playing basketball and to live a dream of playing basketball professionally,” Elston said. “I couldn’t stop smiling after I signed that contract. They have really been telling me that they wanted me on their team. I was waiting on a couple other options to see if they would work out. But when they didn’t, they were quick to let me know that they were behind me 100 percent and told me that they wanted me. So I said yes and they sent me a contract and we got it done.”
Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Derek Elston.
Elston (19 games): 1.1 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 28.6% FG, 22.2% 3PFG, 70.0% FT in 6.3 minutes per game.
When Derek Elston looks back at his senior season at Indiana, he will likely feel a bit unfulfilled. There’s no doubt his final year in Bloomington turned out to be an opportunity missed.
Elston tore his meniscus before the season began, and he was never completely healthy again. It was a disappointing and frustrating year for Elston because he could have played an important role for the Hoosiers. He played well at times during his junior season and was looking forward to the opportunity to play on the perimeter more this season.
Elston played sparingly, and when he did get in, he struggled to knock down his open shots. He wanted to be part of it so much that he sometimes seemed to press and could never get in any real rhythm. He was much more important off the court for the Hoosiers this season and did what he could to help Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin learn the Indiana system and the college game.
Elston did not play in the Big Ten Tournament and played a total of only three minutes in Indiana’s final two NCAA Tournament games. It’s hard to watch Elston go out like that because his struggles came because of reasons out of his control.
DAYTON, Ohio — Watch and listen to what the IU players had to say inside their locker room of the University of Dayton Arena as they prepared for Friday’s NCAA Tournament game with James Madison.
High-definition quality video is available in the embedded media players below:
Everything was assembled for Indiana to have the party of the year on Tuesday night. The Hoosiers were playing for sole possession of a Big Ten title — one they hadn’t won since 1993 — and against the very team they manhandled just weeks ago at Ohio State. Plus, they were prepared to honor their three seniors, a class of guys responsible for bringing the Indiana program back.
Indiana still honored those seniors after Tuesday night’s game, and the Hoosiers can still win a conference title outright by beating Michigan on Sunday. But the celebration was mostly ruined by Aaron Craft and the Buckeyes on Tuesday night.
Ohio State 67, Indiana 58. And suddenly, the Hoosiers aren’t a lock for a No. 1 seed any longer.
“This is the epitome of bittersweet tonight,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean. “We’re trying to celebrate what these guys have earned, and at the same time, we didn’t earn it tonight.”
Added senior forward Derek Elston: “It felt like too many mental errors were stacking on top of each other. When you dwell on one of those, you’re just not playing your game anymore. I think that’s what happened tonight.”
The Buckeyes are a very good defensive team, but they sometimes struggle because their lack of consistent scorers behind Fort Wayne native Deshaun Thomas. When they get other guys to score, though, they are capable of being one of the nation’s top 10 teams.
On Tuesday night, it wasn’t just Thomas (who finished with 18 points on 17 shots). Craft, Ohio State’s pesky point guard, played well offensively and very much dominated whoever was matched up against him. Craft had 16 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting, four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
“We wanted to keep the lane covered on Craft, and he made some tough shots,” Crean said. “Those are the same shots he didn’t make against us [before]. He’s so good because he’s really looking for two things. He’s looking for an open lane, and then if you converge, he’s looking to hit somebody.”
Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson also made solid offensive contributions, combining for 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
“There were some stretches there where we would play really good ‘D’ for the whole shot clock, and they’d get a bucket right at the end,” said senior guard Jordan Hulls. “Whether Craft hit one off the backboard or a pull-up jumper or whatever the case was, offensive rebound, we just didn’t play with that edge that we need to have.”