Eleby makes good on second chance

The starting point guard for the Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team has been a huge contributor in just his first season.

Leading the team in points, rebounds and assists, Malcolm Eleby found his comfort zone as a member of the Norse.

Eleby, a graduate of the Franklin Learning Center in Philadelphia, started his college journey at Division I school St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y. Eleby’s sophomore year proved to be his most productive there, as he led the Bonnies in steals averaging 1.4 steals per game. He also was solid on the offensive end, averaging seven points, 3.4 rebounds and dished out 2.9 assists per game. In three seasons at St. Bonaventure, Eleby started 57 games, averaging 5.2 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per contest.

However, Eleby’s departure from St. Bonaventure resulted from controversy.

On March 21, Eleby and three of his teammates were charged by the New York State Police with violations in connection with a fight against Jamestown Community College basketball team members. Two people received stab wounds in the fight, according to the Associated Press and The Bona Venture.

Eleby’s charges were considered non-criminal making them less serious than a misdemeanor or felony. Nonetheless, Eleby decided it was best for him to go somewhere else for his senior season.

“I was planning to go to another school, but after that fell through I started looking at NKU,” Eleby said. “I liked the coaches and facilities and it sounded like a good fit for me.”

NKU was a fresh start and a chance for him to learn from his mistakes, according to Eleby.

“I put myself in a bad situation and I’m going to try to not get myself in that type of situation here at this school,” Eleby said. “Unfortunately, it was something that happened, but I have put it behind me.”

Eleby has adjusted quite nicely to the new school and a new role that has came along with it.

Through 18 games this season, he is averaging 13.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists, leading NKU in all three categories.

Eleby’s most important contribution, however, is the same at NKU as it was for the Bonnies: as a defensive leader. The Norse currently lead the Great Lakes Valley Conference in scoring defense holding opponents to 64.2 points per game and field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to only make 41.7 percent of their shots. He is a big reason for the success as his 6-foot-3 inch frame has allowed the NKU defense to switch it up at times.

“He gives us a lot of flexibility as he is a point guard in a power forward’s body,” Head Coach David Bezold said. “He allows us to be very creative within, as he can guard different people.”

Eleby leads the Norse not only on the stat sheet, but is also one of the players leading the Norse on the court and in practice, Bezold said.

Story by John Minor