Perhaps what you’ll remember about Aaron Craft is the missed layup against Dayton in the NCAA tournament round of 64 as time expired. Or maybe you’ll remember the ball bobbling out of his hands against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament days before, as he went to attempt a game-winning shot.
Maybe you’ll choose to remember that there was something about Craft that sort of annoyed you. He was too squeaky clean. Too beloved by certain media members. Too technically sound, not athletic enough or exciting enough.
If any of the above is how you choose to remember Craft, well, you really missed the point.
No, Craft wasn’t a great athlete. He always had a limited offensive game (the 10 points per game he averaged last season was a career high). He too often was given the stereotypical label of “scrappy,” the default designation for a white player whose athleticism isn’t great but one who still manages to play well.
And, yes, play-by-play announcers would fawn over him. His leadership. His defense. His determination. His effort. His old-fashioned style. His team-before-individual mentality.
But maybe they fawned because all of those things were true.
Then again, people could get a little carried away praising Craft. Somewhere along the way, he became Tim Tebow Lite. You don’t have to look far to find “Craft burnout.”
From Ken Pomeroy:
Here’s Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports:
We end with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated:
Could you enjoy watching Craft…