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.”