“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 in a release from IU. “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, [Floriana] 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.”
Floriana won the regular season title last season and went on to beat Athleta in the decisive fifth game of a best-of-five championship series to claim its first-ever league title in the 35 seasons of Floriana’s existence.
“We are excited that Derek has this opportunity,” IU coach Tom Crean said in the release. “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.”
Elston already has his bachelor’s degree and will earn a master’s in sport administration this summer. The Maltese league begins in October.
Elston played in 115 games over his Indiana career, averaging 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds. He shot 48 percent from the field and 37.5 from behind the 3-point line.
“That has been the whole process these last four years, to prepare me to get to the next level,” Elston said. “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 [who] 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.”