2011-12 Player Profile: Derek Elston

  • 10/27/2011 8:03 am in

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.

Previously: Jordan Hulls, Will SheeheyVerdell Jones III, Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Tom Pritchard, Matt Roth, Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, Remy Abell, Austin Etherington

Filed to:

  • Anonymous

    X-factor is correct. 

    His ability to return to form, and beyond, this year will be a big determining factor in how program-changing Zeller can be in his freshman campaign.

    It was strange they waited so long to tell us about Elston’s injuries last year as everyone was wondering how he took a step back instead of a leap forward from his freshman to sophomore year.

    If he plays big, he could work his way into regular starting line-up.

  • Anonymous

    The injuries were news to most people..so I guess the kid deserves some slack for a really terrible season last year. DE can shoot the ball and he should be able to board..but if he hasn’t learned  to move his feet and quit slapping down on defense..his minutes will  come only when the team is in foul trouble. Anxious to see if and how he has improved on the defensive side of the ball…cause with this team “if you don’t play D..your head should be resting on your knee (on the bench)”

  • Anonymous

    I think the big thing here is maturity and toughness.  

    He needs to play smart on the floor and WANT to get down within 10 feet and bang on the offensive end for rebounds, etc.  With Zeller and Watford he should be able to clean up on the offensive glass with his athleticism and height.  Couple that with what is a good 10-15 ft stroke and he should be successful.  But should is the operative word.  He must mature, focus and get tough.

  • MillaRed

    If there really is any chance whatsoever this Hoosier squad can make the dance, I would argue that Elston’s play is more important than anyone’s. If he can raise his defensive play to TP’s level, and maintain the ability to score, he’s a force inside.

    If not, Hanner Perea has big shoes to fill as a FR for us to reach the same goal.

  • Anonymous

    Other guys could become x-factors if they take a giant step forward (WS, VO, even Hulls if he improves defensively) but no one has a larger range of possibility than Elston.  It would surprise no IU fan if he ended up playing 2 minutes a game or 30.  I’ll be curious to see how he does but I’m going to keep expectations low just to be safe.

  • JerryCT

    Considering the potential for CW to have a nagging injury over the season the development of DE is crucial . I really hope he comes on strong this season . He is one of the few guys with an obvious nasty attitude that can be channeled in a good way

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree about the way some of these guys talk.  It may have been cool in HS to act foolish and cut up, but you are a 20 year old man.  He is from TIpton, so the urban slang throws me off.  It is time for this guy, and a few others on this team, to man up.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Less tripping.  More doing.  That’s the power of Derek Elston.

  • Anonymous

    I just now re-read last year’s ITH Player Profile for Elston.  He played so poorly last year that I forgot about how effective he was over the last several games of his freshman year and how we all thought (or hoped) he would continue to make progress as a sophomore.  Last year’s profile stated that “Elston was arguably Indiana’s best player down the stretch as he delivered 40 points and 24 rebounds in the team’s final three games” and that he was efficient in doing so.  Who knew?  Here’s hoping that he can build on this and we can forget about last year.

  • stonaroni

    If you have been to Tipton you would understand that proper English “ain’t” spoken there.

  • stonaroni

    I would really like to see this kid get about 10 ppg and 6 rpg and be on the floor with CZ, CW, JH, and VO.

    I think DE has the most to gain from a guy like CZ who demands attention and is a good passer.

    Maybe DE can be the Josh Harrelson (UK) of the team this year and be the benefactor of the dribble drive or collapse on higher profile players.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like every time there is a new player profile most of us, myself included, feel like he is the X factor is some way or another but I think when it comes to DE this label may put on him more justifiably than most if not all of the others. I keep thinking back to the way he finished his freshman season and applying the “man I can’t wait till next year when he comes back and plays all year like he did the these last 3 years or even better” train of thought and maybe that is why I was down on him a little bit more this last year than I should have been especially after hearing about the injury he says he tried to play through last year.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Don’t forget about VJIII.  His inconsistancy and TO’s really hurt us last year.  If he can control himself on his drives to the basket and not lose the ball…he can be another x-factor.  It seems like this year we have more x-factors than any prior.  I think our biggest issue last year was injuries another X-factor.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Didn’t realize that.   If he can do that night in and out…wow he would be our biggest X-factor.

  • Slehman8

    I really want to see DE do well.  I am still concerned with a couple things I saw again at HH.  I focused on him quite a bit that night since he was returning from all those injuries last season.  I still saw him setting those half-*** moving picks.  I wish Pritchard (Or Crean) could teach him how to set a proper pick.  He doesn’t even give the ball handler time to get free.  It also seemed like he was staying on the perimeter too much looking for the ball.  He is going to have to play down low do to our lack of depth there especially since he doesn’t have a high percentage perimeter shot yet.  I just always get a bad feeling when he is on the floor that he is a lot more about getting his shot then playing as a team.

  • jaywiz

    There is very little doubt that Zeller, Watford and Hulls are the stars of this team. If any one of the three can become a top 5 All-Big 10 player, this will be a good (20+ win) season. Vic and Will are the next best players and have to get 22-25 minutes/game on the floor each. Elston and Pritchard have to do it on the floor, “being 6’9? is no longer good enough. Derek could be great, but can he develop the mental side of his talent? Verdell can show that he is the senior leader that we have desperately needed for the last three years. If he can accept lesser “billing” but play great, then this can be a special season. Austin and Remy have to bring it all and bring it hard every second on the floor. They each have some real talent that Indiana has sorely needed. I hope that Matt Roth hits 50% of his 3?s because if he can’t Danny Moore might. Danny does a lot of good things in short stretches. No more excuses now for Coach Crean, it is win NOW time! We miss and love you Mo Creek and want to see you play again at 100%! GO IU!

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

  • 888

    I am from Tipton andmy wife worked with Derek at Blockbuster. Derek is a very nice and personable young man. I dfont really understand eveyone saying he is immature. In a small town like Tipton star basketball players often get a big head and tend to get a little snobish. Derek never had that attitude. He would always take the time to talk to people who were exited to be around him. Im sure he does things that guys his age do but he is a good person. He also has a very nice family. Just saying maybe try to get to know him a little better.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think anyone doubts he is a nice guy. Derek needs to become serious about his basketball career very soon. The play he had last year was pretty sloppy, and most believe he is more talented than that. For what it’s worth, I think Tipton is one of the better small towns in this state.

  • InTheMtns

    Officers!  Arrest this person.  And plagiarism isn’t the only crime he’s committing by making this post.
     😉   I kid, I kid . . .

  • Good point Arsdale. I’m not trying to put too much pressure on Elston or blame him for last season (there were many reasons for last season), but if anyone kind of epitomizes last season, it’s Elston. 

    He came on so strong late his freshmen year, I remember being someone last season that was expecting Elston to earn a spot as a starter and sort of solidify our inside game. 

    It just didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. I would love for Elston to make that leap this season.