"Aaron Craft" tag

Aaron Craft’s Place in Ohio State Basketball History Safe Despite Shocking Loss

College basketball fans would be hard-pressed to script a more heartbreaking way for Aaron Craft to end his college basketball career than what we saw against Dayton in the NCAA tournament Thursday. In the round-of-64 game, Craft hit a reverse layup in the lane after contorting his body around a much larger defender to give Ohio State the one-point lead. For a brief moment, he was a hero. However, Vee Sanford answered right back for the Flyers and hit what ultimately proved to be the game-winning shot. The fact that Sanford’s shot came over Craft right before the Buckeye guard missed his subsequent attempt at the buzzer only makes the ending that much crueler. It is easy to get caught up in the moment as sports fans and declare that Craft’s failure to hit the final shot and come through on the defensive end in the waning moments should impact how he is remembered. What’s more, the point guard coughed the ball up five times against Dayton and didn’t control the tempo of the game like he typically does—something that was magnified by the NCAA tournament stage. Letting this loss impact your opinion on Craft’s Ohio State legacy would be a mistake, though. Just like we didn’t crown him the clutchest Buckeye of all time when he hit the game-winning three against Iowa State in last year’s NCAA tournament, we aren’t going to let this one contest paint him in a negative light. If we are talking Ohio State history,…

Aaron Craft’s Legacy Won’t Be Impacted by Early 2014 NCAA Tournament Exit

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…

Ohio State Basketball: 5 Biggest Questions for Buckeyes in 2014 NCAA Tournament

It’s time to wipe the slate clean for the Ohio State basketball team. For as frustrating as this up-and-down season has been for Buckeye fans who had Final Four aspirations before the year began, a few wins in the NCAA tournament would cancel out the multiple losses to Penn State, the season-long rebounding woes, the clanked free throws, the heartbreaking loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament and the fact that this team only appears comfortable when facing a double-digit deficit. All Your Bracket Essentials: Download the Printable Bracket Follow the Latest Bracket Updates Live Play the Free Bracket Challenge But the only way the Buckeyes are going to advance in the Big Dance is if they answer a number of questions. Here are five of them. Can Ohio State make its three-pointers? Ohio State’s three-point shooting, or lack thereof, becomes of particular concern if the Buckeyes beat Dayton and face Syracuse in the round of 32. The Orange play a 2-3 zone almost exclusively, which means opponents will have to hit perimeter shots if they plan on walking away with a victory. Considering the fact Ohio State shot less than 33 percent as a team this year and doesn’t have a single player shooting better than LaQuinton Ross’ 36 percent, this could be an issue. Asked if he was worried about this potential matchup, coach Thad Matta seemed to have the one-game-at-a-time mentality that is necessary in March, via Kyle Rowland…

Bracket Lames: Big TENse, top-rated league could fall short again (The Dagger: College Basketball Blog)

Aaron Craft is super glue. He sticks to everything. Tenacious and tireless on defense, he is the reason why the Buckeyes rank No. 4 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency and top-20 in five additional defensive categories.

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No. 24 Ohio State holds off Purdue 63-61 (The Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — LaQuinton Ross scored 19 points and Aaron Craft finished with 16 on Thursday, helping No. 24 Ohio State hang on for a 63-61 victory over Purdue in the Big Ten tournament.

Ohio State Basketball: Predictions for Buckeyes in the Big Ten Tournament

It has been a roller coaster of a 2013-14 season for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, but with the Big Ten tournament upon us, the slate is officially wiped clean. From here on out, the Buckeyes will be playing in a win-or-go-home scenario, be it in Indianapolis for the conference tournament or the Big Dance itself the following week. If they win in the postseason, those head-scratching losses to Penn State will mean absolutely nothing. On the flip side, early exits would more than negate impressive victories at Wisconsin, at Iowa and over Michigan State. Thad Matta is no stranger to success in Indianapolis, as the Buckeyes have captured three of the past four Big Ten tournament crowns, including the one from last year. What’s more, Ohio State should have a degree of confidence as the No. 5 seed heading into Thursday’s tilt with No. 12 Purdue, and not only because the scarlet and gray are 2-0 against the Boilermakers this year. The Buckeyes edged out Michigan State in a hard-fought two-point victory to close the regular season, capitalizing on a strong defense that held the Spartans scoreless for the final 4:30. It was only fitting that Aaron Craft made the most important defensive play of the game on his senior day by lunging in front of Adreian Payne and grabbing the critical loose ball on the floor with less than a minute left. Even in defeat, Tom Izzo complemented Craft in his postgame press conference, via Kyle Rowland of Eleven…

Ohio State’s Aaron Craft Sets Big Ten Career Steals Record

With four steals Sunday against Michigan State, Ohio State senior Aaron Craft became the Big Ten Conference’s all-time leader in career steals with 328, per the official Twitter account for Big Ten men’s basketball. Craft broke the record of 324 previously set by Illinois’ Bruce Douglas in 1986. Standing 6’2″, Craft matches great footwork with exceptional anticipation to pester opposing teams. Those qualities allowed Craft to break into the Buckeyes’ rotation as a freshman, despite lacking polish on the offensive end. Since arriving on campus in 2010, Craft has averaged at least two steals and led Ohio State in the category every season. His highest total to date came during his sophomore year, when Craft set the Buckeyes’ single-season record with 98 thefts and was named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. Craft has occupied a position on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team since entering the conference, and he also set Ohio State’s career record for steals midway through his junior campaign. Craft’s highest single-game swipe total sits at seven, which he did once as a freshman versus Iowa and once as a senior against American University. This season, Craft has recorded at least three steals on 16 different occasions, including Sunday’s record-breaking performance on Senior Day. As the tone-setter for a team that has reached the Sweet 16, Final Four and Elite Eight in his respective three seasons, Craft will aim to lead his school on another run through the…

Aaron Craft and Ohio State Making Final Stand After Crucial Road Win over Iowa

After picking up a huge 76-69 victory over Iowa on Tuesday night, it would appear we wrote off Aaron Craft and the Ohio State Buckeyes far too soon. When the midseason Top 25 was announced for the Wooden Watch, it was just the latest time that Craft was given the benefit of the doubt. In the four games prior to the announcement, Craft had committed 19 turnovers while tallying just 19 assists. Ohio State lost all four games. Yet there he was, allegedly one of the 25 players most deserving of eventually being crowned the best in the country. Even his biggest fan knew people would argue he didn’t belong. Bless his heart, Craft didn’t ask to become the most polarizing player in the game any more than Tim Tebow did. But people like Dan Dakich have been showering him with so much endless praise over the past three years that we simultaneously grew tired of hearing about him while expecting him to put up great statistics. No, his numbers weren’t great prior to Tuesday night. But they were pretty much exactly what we’ve come to expect from him over the last two-plus seasons. On Tuesday night, though, Craft was Mr. Wonderful. Craft had six assists, six steals and three rebounds to go along with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting—pretty doggone efficient compared to Marshall Henderson’s night of 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting for Ole Miss against Kentucky. Aside from the rebounds, he led the team in each of those categories. He had undeniably his best game of the…

Ohio State Basketball: Will Win over Wisconsin Spark Buckeyes’ Turnaround?

The Ohio State basketball team has lost five of its past seven games, but it’s a lot easier to look at things through a glass half-full perspective after winning at the always difficult Kohl Center.

In fact, Thad Matta has …

Ohio State Basketball: Where Does Aaron Craft Rank Among All-Time Great Buckeyes

Picking the all-time greats at any marquee college basketball program is never an easy ordeal. Sure, there’s the names everyone knows like Michael Jordan at North Carolina, Magic Johnson at Michigan State, Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor at UCLA and even Larry Bird at Indiana State, but even then we are leaving hundreds of superstars out of the fold. If we are talking all-time greats, Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek have every right to throw their names in the ring, especially when it comes to Ohio State history. However, it gets a bit trickier after that for the Buckeye program. Specifically, where do we place the rosy-cheeked greatness that is Aaron Craft when formulating the list of the best players to ever don Scarlet and Gray? Regardless of where Craft ranks among Ohio State’s greats, it would be wise for Buckeye Nation to enjoy Craft while it can. There isn’t going to be a show like this in Columbus anytime in the near future, and the expiration date is quickly approaching. What makes Craft’s position on the all-time Buckeye list so difficult to determine is the reality that he doesn’t score at the rate many are accustomed to in today’s 140-character, highlight-driven sports world. Style over substance may sound like a cliche, but Craft isn’t one to make an unbelievable dunk and then take the next three plays off because he guaranteed his spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 list (looking at you, Blake Griffin). Even Craft’s…

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