Derek Elston signs professional contract to play in Malta

  • 07/25/2013 12:19 pm in

121912aiFormer 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.”

Elston played in 115 games during his four-year career at Indiana, averaging 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds. He also shot 48.0 percent from the field in his career and 37.5 percent from the 3-point line, including 55.2 percent from long range his junior season. He also helped guide the Hoosiers to back-to-back appearances in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and the 2013 Big Ten regular season championship.

“That has been the whole process these last four years, to prepare me to get to the next level. Coaches with professional teams wanted to see how I had played the last four years. I wasn’t able to send them much from my senior year but what they saw from my first three years got the attention of a lot of coaches. This team was looking for a guy about my height and can get out there and shoot the ball and run the court. Once this team came along and said I was the kind of player they were looking for, it put a huge smile on my face.”

As the only American player on the team in Malta, he will head over well in advance of the start of practice in mid-September to get settled in before the season begins.

He joins Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic), Cody Zeller (Charlotte Bobcats) and Jordan Hulls (Energa Czarni Slupsk – Poland) as members of the 2012-13 team that have signed professional basketball contracts this offseason. Christian Watford has played in the NBA Summer League with the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks as well this summer.

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  • Ole Man

    Way to go, Derek! And being paid to play in Malta? That’s like being paid to take a trip to paradise.

  • notfargj

    congratulations, derek! best of luck!

  • xCowHoosier

    I want to see banner # 6 just like everyone else that reads these posts…but I know that no matter what happens on the court I can always be proud to be a Hoosier and be tremendously happy for the guys who come in, work their tail off and succeed. Great work Derek, I hope the years of playing for pay are awesome:

    “More than anything, however, Derek will leave IU this summer with two degrees in hand and for that, we are extremely proud”

  • Chris

    So four ex-Hoosiers now play professionally, eh? Seems last years squad is even more of a disappointment than previously thought.

  • Candy Striped Kid

    Happy for Derek. What a lucky guy!

  • KevOMG

    He gets paid to play basketball for a team located on an Italian Island located in the Mediterranean sea?
    Money aside, I think Derek wins for the award “best places to play after college”


    Couldn’t be happier for Derek. It may not be the NBA but it is still a case of him being paid, probably fairly well, to do something he dearly loves and how many of us can say that. I don’t know about now but at one time a lot of the contracts of American players making a living playing overseas had some free bonus things that came with it like house, cars, clothes etc.

    When they were looking into whether or not they wanted to sign him or not I hope it was pointed out that he was a big enough man and believed in himself enough to honor a commitment that he made BEFORE a whole lot of things went south that would have, for the most part, legitimized him doing something other than what he did do.


    Seriously, even if that is your opinion, and you’re entitled to it, you have to use an article about something positive happening for a former IU player to express it ? At the very least it seems like you could have thrown in a, ” happy for you Derek, congratulations “, somewhere along the way.

  • xCowHoosier

    If you are speaking strictly about what happened on the court…fine; if not, I think you are missing the point of IU bballers being STUDENT athletes.

  • Red Ramaker

    I do wonder how much you actually get paid to play in Malta? Great experience though

  • Maxey

    watched the team practice wed, Oladipo dont have nothing on robinsoon and zeller could only dream of having N.V wing span

  • Maxey

    60-70 a year


    Are you saying that he will be a starter next year, or are you saying that Robinson is better as a true freshman than VO was at that stage ? Regardless I guess the question to be answered is, one, does he have the ceiling that VO did and / or will he have the work ethic that VO had ? Just one more thing to think about between now and when next season gets going.

  • SCHoosier

    If somebody actually passes the ball to DE..he’ll score some points for those guys and body up on D. Have a great season DE!