2012-2013 Player Profile: Derek Elston

  • 10/04/2012 9:00 am in

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Derek Elston.

Key stats: 4.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 55.2 3PG FG%, 17.1 defensive rebounding percentage.

Like many upperclassmen on this year and last year’s roster, Derek Elston got more opportunities in his first couple seasons than he will in his final two. Elston’s minutes dipped from 15.5 a game his sophomore year to 12.3 per contest last season thanks, in large part, to the addition of Cody Zeller. Elston wasn’t relied upon as much for playing in the paint, so he was able to float around and play more as a perimeter shooter. He often did well in that role as he hit 55.2 percent (16-of-29) of his 3-point attempts last season.

Elston’s minutes will likely decrease again this season with a strong incoming recruiting class that includes Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Perea, two guys that could play his position. But that certainly doesn’t mean Elston can’t make an impact, especially given his experience.

Despite fairly insignificant numbers a year ago — Elston averaged 4.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game — the Tipton native had several important performances. Tom Crean referred to him throughout the year as one of the team’s seven starters and Elston scored in double figures on five occasions.

He played a critical role in helping the Hoosiers upset Ohio State at Assembly Hall on Dec. 31. With Zeller in foul trouble, Elston drew the assignment of guarding big man Jared Sullinger, and he performed admirably as the Hoosiers prevailed, 74-70.

At his IU Auditorium speech in September, Tom Crean said he just wants Elston to be the team’s Brian Scalabrine this season. Scalabrine, the longtime Boston Celtic who recently retired, rarely played significant minutes, but routinely came up with a big 3-pointer or rebound to help his team succeed.

Crean also mentioned Elston has dropped some weight and is in better shape than he was last season. That makes sense, considering the Hoosiers have several new big bodies and they won’t need Elston to play in the paint much anymore.

Bottom line: Elston won’t be a key contributor for the Hoosiers this season, but if he accepts the role Crean has given to him, he still has a chance to be effective. With Zeller, Yogi Ferrell and others drawing defenders to them, Elston should get plenty of great looks from the perimeter.

Quotable:  “He just needs to be Brian Scalabrine for us.” – Crean on Elston at his IU Auditorium speech.

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  • marcusgresham

    Elston may not be huge every game, but there are going to be times when he’s going to do one or two things that are huge. This is his last go-around, so I don’t think he’s going to settle for sitting.

  • N71

    I definitely like Derek’s game at a lighter weight. He’s pretty quick naturally and shoots the mid range well. While putting on the weight a couple years back was impressive I don’t think his body liked it kind of like Rik Smits when he tried to bulk up and started to experience injury after injury. Derek is a senior which is worth a ton and injury unfortunately will likely happen with someone so Derek’s number will probably getting called. Depending who’s on the floor with him he may get a bunch of open looks this year, layups, put backs, etc. So much attention will be given to Cody or Christian that whoever else is out there will have some fun.

  • JerryCT

    I disagree w the conclusion of this analysis. DE will indeed be a KEY contributor . Neither JH nor HP is at all ready to defend a power forward in college just yet. Why is offense all we talk about when its the D that is our aichilles heal ?

  • MillaRed

    I think Elston made great strides last season. He needed to settle down, and he did, a little. Problem is, he needed to settle down so much, he still looks too amped up out there at times. I love his energy, but sometimes it gets the best of him.

    I think his contribution boils down to the Frosh’s ability to defend. We have so much scoring it really isn’t necessary for DE to put up a lot of points IMO.

    At any rate, I will always root for this kid. And I think he is definitely a cog in this machine.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I agree, JCT. I don’t see Hollowell having the body (this year) to play the #4 spot, and who knows how Hanner will adapt at this level (he had foul problems last year). Not that I have a crystal ball, but I’d wager that Elston’s minutes will be roughly similar to last year.

  • inLinE6

    I liked everything about Derek except the big tatoo.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Jerry! Your comments are definitely one of my favorite parts of the site and you being back on the comments thread means the season is approaching.

    Also, I tend to agree with you on Elston. I think role player/contributor is more accurate than “key” but I understand your point. Elston’s role as a defender could be a big help in games against teams with large front lines and wings.

  • Rob

    I totally agree that defense was our Achilles heal last year. CTC says that is what keeps him up at night which it should. I don’t think that necessarily means that last years players are the solution unless they, including Derek, make tremendous improvement to that part of their game. Without tremendous defensive improvement from most (Cody, Will, Vic, Remy being the exceptions) of our returning players I would not assume that a freshman could not play defense better.

  • VerdellJonesIV

    Iowa at home, I’m almost positive. And I think Pritch was in on that run too.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Even if we were talking offense, Derek has a pretty good outside shot, even the article says he hit 55% of his tre’s.


    Agree, I think the freshman’s ability to play D will have a direct correlation with the amount of minutes that Derek gets. At the beginning of the season, and with DE knowing this is his last hurrah, I just don’t see that happening. The freshman may think they understand how hard they are going to have to play D but may find out that they really don’t, or not at first anyway. One also has to believe that DE has been around long enough to see and understand that his D is his ticket to seeing the floor. The only other thing I see playing into that significantly is an injury to somebody playing as many or more minutes than he was getting. Then he’s not just a cog in the machine but a major cog in the machine. With our situation being what it has been the last few years I think a lot of us have forgotten what kind of intangibles come from having a “contributor” that is a senior.

    Did I just use the “I” word ? I’d go back and delete it but it’s probably too late now. I may need to get the name of someone at the retreat from you to try and get it nullified. I know it isn’t gonna be easy but I’m willing to do whatever it takes.


    A season better than most expected, followed by an unexpected Sweet 16 appearance, which was followed by an offseason that seemed to never end.

    The movement arriving on campus and working with CTC & the upperclassmen.

    CZ hanging around for at least another year.

    Mo seemingly getting healthy and rounding back into shape.

    All the preseason accolades and excitement.

    The season being just a few days away from actually starting.

    If all that and more wasn’t enough for me to contend with I was in Btwn today with my son for a guided tour of the campus and it’s surroundings. I’m telling you I am now like a junkie that is going nuts cause he has seen where his next fix is at and is coming up just a fraction of an inch short of being able to reach it. lol

  • JerryCT

    Suppose Watford gets hurt as he did last year. Suppose Sheehey gets hurt as he did last year ………………. suppose foul trouble or we need another 3 pt shooter on the floor when Yogi replaces Hulls …………. I think DE becomes “key” pretty quickly , especially if the alternative sub is defensively weak. I thought CTC called him a “starter ”

    Anyway its good to get past all this recruiting stuff and back to the war

  • ace132

    if by crafty u mean he would prefer to shoot scoop layups rather than take it up strong, than yes he is crafty

  • dtfreed

    DE could be this year’s J. Odle from 2001. Odle looked like he was headed to the other end of bench and ended up, after bulking up, being pretty good that year coming off the bench.

  • q95

    two words to increase your playing time…defense and rebounding.

  • jmoney

    Elston will get his minutes this year. CTC has shown time and again that he gives his seniors plenty of opportunities to contribute, regardless of the talent surrounding them. There will likely be many games where Derek is a non-factor, but I think he will come through big on occasions when we need it most. Role players contributing when it counts is a characteristic that great teams always possess. He’s a pretty effective shooter when he’s set. It’s not always pretty when he’s moving with the ball, though. Hopefully, that has been a focal point of his off-season workouts.

  • jahhoosier

    I know…it never ceases to amaze me what incredible players incoming freshmen are, yet they all seem to be so sensitive to cold weather. Come mid-November or so, their skills just plummet. Maybe it’s because they’re all still so thin…lack of insulation or something.

    I’ll not only say that Derek will be a key contributor, I’ll say that it would be very lucky if a national title run does not put teams in Indiana’s path that Derek’s abilities will be the exact right ones for the game among Indiana’s lineup. Outside the first five, he’s the only big man Indiana has who can stretch the floor on offense, while still maintaining the ability to defend a combination of height and strength, and fight in the post for rebounding position. He also knows how to set a college screen, which is not a bad skill when you also have the ability to shoot after setting it.

    Again, I realize that none of this is all that important right now, because the freshmen all still have flawless games, but it will be once the season starts.

  • oh oh Jerry are you saying that Elston is now your new Pritch?