BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- A 6-foot-7 junior forward from Tipton High School has become the first player to make a verbal commitment to Indiana for the 2009 recruiting class.
Derek Elston, who averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds a game as a sophomore, said he had also considered Purdue, but decided on IU after visiting the campus last week and meeting with Hoosier coach Kelvin Sampson and others.
Elston's high school coach said he should excel under Sampson.
"He's willing to do the dirty work stuff, to make the tough plays," Tipton coach Travis Daugherty said. "That's not something you see out of a kid who is also as talented. That usually needs to be coached."
Elston's father, Darrell, was a shooting guard for North Carolina and was a third-round draft pick of the Atlanta Hawks in the 1974 NBA draft. He played in the ABA for the Virginia Squires and the Indiana Pacers.
"I'd always thought that I needed to prove to my dad that I could be as good or better than he was, and that if I didn't end up at North Carolina I'd be letting him down," Elston said. "But he told me that he wanted me to be able to be my own player, and he said you have to do what you have to do."