Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller will make their mark next season in the NBA.
It’s still unclear whether Christian Watford will catch on with an NBA team or be playing in Europe by the time the season begins. Watford played in a pair of NBA Summer League stints, first with the Indiana Pacers and later with the Dallas Mavericks.
But two other members of the reigning Big Ten champion Hoosiers will begin their careers in Europe, too. Jordan Hulls, who announced his engagement on July, will leave in August to play overseas in Poland. Hulls will play for Energa Czarni Slupski and is already listed as a starter at point guard on the team’s website.
That’s quite a feat when you consider Hulls has yet to join the team and their season doesn’t actually begin until October. The season in the Poland league goes from October to late May.
But Hulls isn’t the only member of last year’s senior class headed to play in Europe. Derek Elston has signed a professional contract with Floriana Francesco Fenech Greens in the Maltese Powerade League in Malta, an island located south of Italy.
In a release put out by IU, Indiana coach Tom Crean said he was excited for Elston’s opportunity.
"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,’’ Crean said. “More than anything, however, Derek will leave IU this summer with two degrees in hand and for that we are extremely proud.’’
Elston received his undergraduate degree in three years, graduating in May of 2012 with a degree in sport communication broadcast. Later this summer, he will complete his Masters degree in Sports Administration.
As is the case in Poland, the Maltese Powerade League begins in October and runs into May. Last year, Floriana won the regular season title.
“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."
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.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch.