That’s A Wrap: Derek Elston

  • 03/15/2011 11:03 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to make some sense of the 2010-11 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on. Today: Derek Elston.

Final Stats (31 games): 4.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.3 apg, 51.2% FG, 63.6% FT in 15.5 minutes per game

First thing is first: Derek Elston did not take a leap in his sophomore season. In fact, his role even shrunk a bit.

After using enough offensive possessions (20-24 percent) to be listed as a “significant contributor” by KenPom during his freshman campaign, Elston slid back to a “role player” (16-20 percent) this year, according to KenPom.

After shooting 36.0 percent from distance in 2009-10, Elston only shot 17.6 percent (3-of-17) this season. Elston also took less field goals (151 to 125), free throws (46 to 33) and 3-point attempts (25 to 17) year over year, while also registering less rebounds (128 to 114), assists (12 to 8), steals (21 to 14) and blocks (12 to 8).

Oh, and this all came in more minutes on the floor (15.1 as a freshman compared to 15.5 this season).

So what to make of this?

Well, there are a few factors here. As far as his offensive production is concerned, the additions of Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey, as well as Jordan Hulls taking a more active role in the offense marginalized Elston a bit.

But his defense was his Achilles heel this season.

Outside of Bobby Capobianco (a staggering 10.7 fouls per 40 minutes) and Tom Pritchard (6.5 fouls per 40 minutes), Elston (5.7) registered the most fouls per 40 minutes on the team.

He would often enter a game, set an illegal screen (or two), pick up a foul (or two), fail to get into a rhythm on the offensive end, and then eventually get yanked. And it became apparent that coach Tom Crean didn’t fully trust in Elston, either — a trust that dwindled by season’s end.

In the last two games of the season, Elston played just nine minutes against Illinois and three minutes against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.

Shining moment: Nineteen points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field in a loss to Northern Iowa on Dec. 22 in Las Vegas.

Bottom line: Elston has a good frame and basketball body, especially on a team lacking size. He also has the talent and ability to start in the Big Ten. And if his pre-game dance routine is any indication, he fits in with his teammates. But until Elston gets more focused on both ends of the floor, it’s going to be hard for him to take the next step in the maturation of his college basketball career.

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