Derek Elston, Bobby Capobianco say they want to come back

INDIANAPOLIS — The two Hoosiers most-speculated to transfer — Derek Elston and Bobby Capobianco — both said they want to return next season after the 61-55 loss to Penn State.

“This is my family,” Elston said. “These guys are my brothers. I am going to go out there and fight with them everyday until my four years are up.”

Capobianco said: “Of course. Derek said it the best — these are our brothers. This is a family. We’re here to battle and we’re going into it the same way next season.”

It’d be hard to blame either for leaving or staying.

Elston has had maybe the shortest leash of any Hoosier during his two seasons with the team and Thursday was no different. He did not enter the game until the 15:29 mark of the second half, and proceeded to pick up three fouls in three minutes. Back to the bench he went.

“I was a little disappointed, but that’s just the way the game goes,” Crean said. “If Coach (Crean) needs me, he’s going to put me in there. If he doesn’t, I got to deal with it. I realize I have my downs and other people have their ups.”

Capobianco didn’t even make it to the scorer’s table, registering his sixth DNP of the season. A nearly constant fouler — he committed 44 fouls in 165 minutes this season — Capobianco last played meaningful minutes on Feb. 5 (13 minutes against Iowa; zero points, zero rebounds, two fouls).

“I got to get in there and battle and rebound,” Capobianco said. “Just do the things that I was brought here to do. Make shots when I am open. … I think there’s a good amount of stuff to work on in the offseason.”

Elston is playing out of position at Indiana — he’s a natural 4 (remember that pretty 18-footer he had during his high school career at Tipton) trying to play the 5. Capobianco struggles with the speed of the game in the Big Ten. Both have two years of eligibility remaining and could easily excel at new homes in the Missouri Valley, Mid-American or Horizon Conference.

But they want to stay and they want to be a part of the rebuilding project everyone around the program insists is still making progress.

“I think it’s hard for a lot of people to see because you have seen us play 30-some odd times,” Capobianco said, “but there are countless other days in practice when we’re in there grinding it out, where guys have made huge strides and gotten better in so many different areas.”

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  • hgdownunder says:

    I kinda doubt they would fess up to wanting to transfer right now.

  • Jack Klompas says:

    I never like rooting for players to transfer unless they have bad character issues. Neither of these guys have said issues. The 2009 class has to be somewhat commended for signing with a team coming off a 6 win season.

    Capobianco could have gone to West Virginia and enjoyed a Final Four season last year. Instead he chose to come to my alma mater and endure the worst seasons its basketball team has ever gone through. Props to him for that.

    That being said, IU desperately needs to improve its big man play, and the most likely way to do that is through the JUCO ranks.

  • Tsao Tsu Gonzalez says:

    I’m confused…they just finished a very rough and, for, them disappointing season and you immediately asked “…are you transferring?”

    There’s something sick about this.

  • PB says:

    I agree with Jack Klompas. It’s hard to root for any players to transfer. These two are good character guys. While we have jokingly given them a hard time here at the Scoop, especially during the live chats on games I would have mixed feelings to see them go.

    To touch on their words, part of this whole rebuilding process has created a “Band of Brothers”. While they might not be the most talented bunch I’m hoping that this off season brings the team closer together and flushes out a true leader. Even if Capo and Elston were to go, I’m not sure we are set up to bring in serviceable parts. Although with Capo, that might not be that difficult..heh.


    But, to play devil’s advocate who knows what the off season holds. Crean and the staff interview each player and discuss what their best options going forward may be. We may seem some movement when all the dust settles.

    Excited for Sheehey and Oladipo going +1 next year. Their growth will be fun to watch.

    Crean has shown, at least at Marquette that he could pluck the occasional servicable bigman, Marcus Jackson (03-05) and Lawrence Blackledge (06-08). There are a few top ten JUCO’s available 6’8 and up, so it will be interesting to see if he takes that route.

    Every year the patience of the fan base gets less and less. 2011-2012 will be telling. Great job again this year guys. Keep it up.


  • hoosier fan says:

    I agree with Tsao. Why would you ask them about transferring before they eveb
    get back to Bloomington?
    It’s too bad they haven’t been able to contribute much, but they don’t deserve
    to feel people want them to go, sooner rather than later.

  • MiamiHoosier says:

    Karron Johnson PF Juco guy is no longer committed to OK St. any shot?

  • Aruss says:

    At what point do you look at the coach for lack of player development? I can only imagine how good Elston would be by now if Sampson was his coach.

  • muubell says:

    “Both have two years of eligibility remaining and could easily excel at new homes in the Missouri Valley, Mid-American or Horizon Conference.”

    Geez, Hugh, would you be happy if someone suggested you’d be better off writing for the Times-Mail in Bedford?

  • who? says:

    muubell, just who the hell are to put the Bedford staff down? Yes, some of those guys are friends of mine. You might want to research how many awards the T-M writers have received over the years. It might just surprise you.

  • Big Bob says:

    I still don’t think Crean has any interest in coaching a big man. His entire coaching reputation is built on Dwayne Wade. I guarantee that if he did not have Wade at Marquette he would not be here at IU.

  • PB-

    Thanks for the post. I agree with your sentiments completely.

    Surprisingly, there aren’t many question marks going into this off-season. The task is clear: the current players and coach need to do a lot better next year, hands down. A three year “patience period” is pretty fair, if you ask me. Next year is year 4.

    Add a capable big guy/post player to complement Zeller, and we could see the chemistry of the team begin to change significantly. As you’ve said, Sheeladipo’s development will be one of the most exciting factors.

    Boy, I really, really miss that feeling of anticipating the Hoosiers’ upcoming first-round tournament game. I have great memories of Rod Wilmont and Earl Calloway draining threes against San Diego State and Gonzaga. Bloomington just isn’t the same without Hoosier games in late March.

    Aruss, as for you, you sure are a strange character. The question you would have never asked about Bill Lynch comes out effortlessly regarding Coach Crean.

  • In a perfect world, we would wait a week or two for the dust to settle and then be able to meet and interview each of the players. Since that is unlikely to happen, we take what we can get: an open locker room, as mandated by the Big Ten. It is the first time this season Bobby Capobianco has been made available to the media, from what I can recall. Maybe he was available once very early this season.
    Quite frankly, there has been so much speculation on this site and others, as well as during live chats, that it is a natural and important question to ask. Is a guy likely to say, “Yep, I am out of here.”? No. But you can tell something by the response (no comment or “that is not my focus right now” generally indicates a goner).

  • Aric says:

    Hugh…this just shows your lack of experience as an athlete in sports…which makes it hard to want to read your column – as the expert of all things IU basketball.

    I get the speculation. You, as the beat writer/columnist/IU basketball expert, I would think would have connections to check in with these guys when they return from spring break.

    You’ve lost all credibility with these guys/the coaches. They know never to reveal anything insightful…because they know Mr. Hugh will just immediately tweet it or put it up here on the blog.

    The better question might be is, “Hugh, will you be the IU basketball columnist next season, after just breaking your trust with the team?”

  • HoosierBear says:


    I think the better put down would be something like the Greene County Daily World.

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    Asking those players about their coming back ranks right up there with that Q at the other end of the spectrum asked last year to HS students if they knew the scholarship situation at IU. Their predictable response gives no more info than you get from a crystal ball. It is the “gotcha” journalism taught at our esteemed institutions of higher learning.

  • IUninethree says:

    On the flip side, if they would have run a story quoting Elston and Capo on the disappointing loss in general, you’d have a whole different group of people criticizing the journalists for not asking the questions on everyone’s minds.

    I’m going to bet these kids aren’t so shielded they don’t know the chatter.

  • kurk81 says:

    Hugh, shame on you for failing cheerleader tryouts. You went and asked relevant, difficult questions of athletes. Turn in your skirt and sweater, buddy – you’ve lowered yourself to the level of journalist.

  • STLBAM says:

    These are two good guys who clearly show effort when on the floor but the effort doesn’t make up for the ability needed to play at an elite level. If Elston is playing out of position then I think he would look even more deficient at the the 4 spot, he just isn’t quick enough to guard the 4 or make the offensive moves needed at the Big 10 level.
    In my opinion this team needs a combo guard more than a big until Yogi arrives. Cody can handle playing the 5 for one year. Verdell should not be the PG period and Hulls hasn’t shown the ability to run the show for a full 40 minutes yet. We got to have a kid that can navigate, dish, or take it himself at any time. Verdell would be a great 6th man. He’s too mentally fragile to run a team.
    At this point I really think Crean needs to make the decision on who keeps or loses their scholarship. Tough love is in order. If they want to stay and pay their own way so be it but this program cannot be a Big 10 bottom feeder any longer.
    I’m going to have faith in the words of the prophet Gus Johnson when he said that you will see a dramatic shift in the powers of the Big 10 in the near future and Indiana will be a part of it.

  • On Board says:

    Interesting reading this AM, and I agree with Big Bob and his comment regarding Coach Crean and Dwayne Wade. Respectfully: was Coach Crean the primary catalyst for the development of Wade … or was Wade and coach Izzo the primary catalyst for the emergence of Tom Crean?

    We’ve struggled so much during the past couple of years and granted, what else could be expected given the circumstances. But – why do we continue to see a team lacking so many fundamental team concepts at this point in time? With so many individual talents on the floor the players, IMO (excluding Hulls and Rivers and Sheehy) first look to their personal play and lastly look to find an open teammate. VJ has talent, but the game comes to a virtual grind as he holds the ball and looks for his drive/shot. Even then he “carries” the ball more than some NCAA refs will allow. VJ reminds me of Earl the Pearl Monroe without total skills which come from maturity. TP still cannot “finish” even though he can dunk from a standstill. VO may be great in the upcoming season, but why hasn’t the coaching staff looked him in the eye and seriously channeled him to STOP thinking he is Michael Jordan whenever he touches the ball? At this stage of his growth maybe he could wait for the flow of the game to enrich his talents?

    The point being here, why are so many basic team skills missing with this talented coaching staff in place?

    In the end, congratulations Hoosiers for fighting so hard and for giving up your bodies on defense this season. We look forward to seeing your off season growth and look forward to next year when Big 10 Basketball redefines itself due to attrition. Go Hoosiers!

  • Chet says:

    I don’t want to point fingers, as I do not know the genesis of their relationships nor do I know what kind of relationship CTC had with the Wisconsin press, but there is obviously a lack of trust between the the basketball coaches/players and the H-T writers. It may be institutional and have nothing to do with the writers or it may have developed over time due to the actions of the writers. I just don’t know. I do know that the quality of the product produced by th H-T is going to be severely limited until a level of trust is established between the two parties.

  • Becca Sitzin Deanna says:

    Wade argument is worst argument ever. Coaches are supposed to recruit good players and take them deep into the tourney. Many coaches have loaded teams of 5 star talent, and can’t even make it to the final four (see John Calipari last year).

    With Wade, Crean simply did his job. In fact, he even excelled at his job – Wade was offered at only 3 schools (Marq., Illinois State, and DePauw). John Wall and many others were 5 star recruits with academic issues and were still on the map with a much wider list of universities than Wade. Crean saw a needle in a haystack with Wade and it paid off.

    Crean also coached NBA players Novak, Diener, and Wesley Matthews. Last time I checked, IU has only 2 players in the NBA to Marquette’s 5.

  • Tom says:

    Hugh is too good for the Greene County Daily World.

    But I really don’t understand that question immediately after the last game. It’s a waste of a question & you’re insulting the player (everybody knows your not good enough to play here, please give the scholarship up to somebody who is, for the good of the program).

    If somebody transfers 3-4 weeks from now, report on it then when it’s a FACT.

  • DM says:

    As I continue to watch IU basketball and Coach Crean – he is definiately a “Big East” Coach. What I mean by that – no movement, hardly any hard cuts off screens – etc, etc. One screen out top for the guard that has the ball – then that guard just keeps it until he can get an opene shot. No teamwork involved IMHO!!

  • jj says:

    I don’t know why i expect a higher level of reporting out of this site… but this is just some weak sH#t! You never, never ask a student athlete that question without cause. You two (Hugh and DD) need to quit reading comments on message boards. I can’t find anything in your reporting that i don’t read in the comments of ITH.

  • jj,

    Sorry you feel that way. Although, for the record, the only comments I read on any sort of regular basis are the ones on this site.

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