Haters Gon' Hate

By Jason Priestas on February 25, 2013 at 11:13a

Lansing State Journal columnist Graham Couch thinks Aaron Craft receives undue recognition because he's white (and has "rosey cheeks"):

Craft is a competent, though limited offensive point guard. But when opponents defend him too closely — perhaps because it’s natural for opposing guards to defend him as he defends them — it allows Craft to create offensively and wastes energy unnecessarily of players such as Appling and Burke.

I also believe Craft receives recognition beyond his abilities for reasons most are afraid to say — he’s a rosey-cheeked white guy. If he’s not, if he looks like Appling, I don’t think he’d be preseason All-Big Ten or featured in Sports Illustrated. That’s not his fault. But it’s the fault of writers who don’t necessarily understand the game or what he brings to it, but fall in love with his reputation and look.

All of that said, Craft has value. More value than his ability as a player because of what he does to the heads of his foes.



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UrbzRenewal's picture

Right, that's not racist at all. I'm surprised that was allowed to be published, shocking stupidity.
Aaron Craft's basis for hype:

  • His crazy effort on the court
  • Best on ball defender in college basketball
  • 3.9+ GPA/premed
  • Can solve a rubik's cube quite fast
  • Academic All-American
  • Earned playing time since his freshman year
  • OSU all-time steals leader
  • Ohio State record for steals in a game
  • Ohio kid.


+1 HS
LouGroza's picture

Is there a factory in that state where this type of idiot, with the ability to spew written garbage, is mass produced? Good Lord!

BSTP DeCon's picture

Omg, I'm dying over here! Great poster, Ramzy, that's hysterical!

old_rasputin's picture

Fantastic.  Well done!

"We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we'll be back, and someone will pay the price." Coach Hayes

hodge's picture

Since when is ESPN's "First Take" producing newspaper articles?

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

probably the most ignorant thing i've ever seen. You can not possibly watch a game or two of his and not notice his tenacity on D. If anything, people play him tighter because of how up in their face he gets. Never seen a better all around defender in college basketball in my life.

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

FROMTHE18's picture

IMO, this is exactly why racism exists in sports and to an extent everywhere...people, particularly those with the capability to reach a large audience, need to stop using this as a rationale for successes and failures. I believe he gets recognition for his accomplishments as a student and as a premier defender, regardless of his ethnicity...same can be said for any recognized athlete or human being for that matter.

Bolt's picture

So, a guy dominates you on offense, absolutely dominates your best player on defense and shuts him down totally and you have to result to racism to bring a 21 year old kid down a peg? You stay classy, state of Michigan.
Maybe he's right though...Craft shouldn't get as much recognition as he does and Keith Appling should get more recognition. After all, did you see how he repeatedly got beat off the dribble and completely shut down by...Aaron Craft when they played head to head? Makes sense.

rkylet83's picture

Wow....racist much?

tennbuckeye19's picture

I would say that yes, Craft does receive a good deal of attention, but I disagre with the comparisons the author draws. He is comparing Craft with Burke and Appling, two guys that are obviously more talented and skilled offensively. This guy must've missed all the chatter about Burke this year. Craft is a completely different type of PG than either of those guys. He's a defensive play-maker and when he generates offense its generally a surprise. I fail to see the issue or why it matters that he's white. 
Question for writer: If a black player is "overrated" and "overhyped", what is the reason behind that?

Toilrt Paper's picture

Craft made Appling look like a joke in this game, the reason for the butt hurt, whining.

Boom777's picture

The answer to your question would be he's "mixed"!!!! The white side is slowing him down!!! 

Wherever you are, there you be!

cajunbuckeye's picture

Wow. Speechless. It's not difficult to believe that this type of garbage gets written, but it's hard to fathom why it would be published. One of the best, if not the best defender in the nation. Is that not in itself, reason for Craft to be recognized?

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

acBuckeye's picture

This comes from a guy who writes for a paper located in the same place that produced Mateen Cleaves..... aka The Most Overrated College Basketball Player in History.
And since he wants to bring race into it..... Isn't Aaron Craft roughly just a white version of Mateen Cleaves? Similar games. Similar strengths. Similar weaknesses.
Yet Cleaves, somehow, managed to gain three (<---WTF??) All-American nods, and B1G POY TWICE!!
So, if anything, I'd counter this clown's argument and say, if Craft was NOT white, he'd be garnering even MORE accolades and recognition than he is currently.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

does he really have an effin pen in his ear? wtf

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Chris Lauderback's picture

That explains a lot, actually. Clearly, he's more suited for working in a lumber yard (not that there's anything wrong with that) than talking intelligently about hoops.

cinserious's picture

Haters Gon' Hate!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

tampa buckeye's picture

Does he get a free pass because he is really white?

dubjayfootball90's picture

But it’s the fault of writers who don’t necessarily understand the game...

Looks like this writer should lump himself into the "Not Understanding Basketball" category as well.....

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Knarcisi's picture

That Kool-Aid must be served as "Sour Grape" beyond the northern border.  The kid is an academic All-American, and carries a 3.95 in pre-med.  Yeah, let's have less press about these types of guys ...

The Vest-er's picture

Isaiah Thomas said something similar about Larry Bird. He sounded like an idiot too.

Fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless.

Rfahncke's picture

Or because His turnover per possession ratio is ridiculous.  
Or his lateral quickness is absurd.
Or he ALREADY owns the OSU steals record.
Or he can solve a rubix cube in less than a minute.
Or his GPA is >3.8 in pre-med
Or he's arguably the best on-ball defender we've ever seen in the NCAA at his position.
Or all of the above...and more.
or he's white.  Smh.

"Have you earned your buckeye today?"

Rfahncke's picture

Sorry.  Late to the AC accolade party.  

"Have you earned your buckeye today?"

yrro's picture

More importantly to me... what point guards in the Big Ten (or anyone that OSU has played) have won their individual matchups against him? He and Burke have been pretty much even head to head I would say, and Burke is the consensus pick for best point guard (and possibly best player) in the Big Ten.

Grayskullsession's picture

I smell butthurt....

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

Maestro's picture

that can't smell good

vacuuming sucks

Maestro's picture

Sad.  Great game by Craft.  I would have sworn the Deshaun was "on the take" the way he played the first half.  A must win for the Bucks.

vacuuming sucks

btalbert25's picture

Defensively Craft is amazing, offense meh.  I feel like he's over rated too.  He has hurt the Buckeyes in big games this season.  The Duke game he was atrocious and the 2nd Michigan game the last 2 minutes as well as OT he hurt the team.  Truth be told at PG, a lot of the year I would prefer Scott. 
Last season and his freshman year I liked Craft a lot on that side of the court.  Having someone like Sully to run the offense through made him a lot better.  This year, now that he is trying to create, he hasn't been as good.
Is it because he's white that he's hyped?  I really don't know if I can answer that, but it may play into it some.  I think it's more because of how good he was his first 2 seasons though, but in general I've been disappointed with Craft this season.

Maestro's picture

Besides his late foul yesterday there is no way anyone could have been disappointed with Craft yesterday IMHO.

vacuuming sucks

btalbert25's picture

Maestro, I wasn't disappointed at all with what he did yesterday, but one game doesn't make the rest of the season irrelevant.  I hope we see that Aaron Craft the rest of the year.  The team can make a deep run if he does.

OurHonorDefend09's picture

I tend to agree with you on Craft being a bit overrated, mostly because he isn't a complete player. However, I don't think many people, even OSU homers, claim he is a menace on offense. It's all about his defense and effort, both on and off the court. To say the hype about what he does best (on ball defense, tremendous effort, school, etc.) isn't supported by his body of work is ridiculous, let alone claim that people give it to him because he's white.
If Craft plays on both ends of the floor in the tournaments like he did yesterday, look out. I really hope he does too, just to show jackasses like Graham Couch that he definitely deserves the accolades he gets, regardless if he's white, black, blue, or orange.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

old_rasputin's picture

Very good point.  As is often noted, when the PG is playing like his life depended on it then the team will respond, and I think that that is what we saw yesterday.  Craft was a beast who fired up other player like Ravenel et al.

"We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we'll be back, and someone will pay the price." Coach Hayes

Maestro's picture

Understood BT.

vacuuming sucks

acBuckeye's picture

He finally exploded yesterday, but that's abnormal for him and I agree with a lot of what you said BT.
He's been a disappointment this year in terms of offensive production. His game is severely limited on offense. I couldn't believe Sparty kept letting him get in the lane like that, when all they had to do was sag off of him and make him shoot, or try to drive past two defenders.
Defensively, he's the best in the business IMO.
But the whole race card thing was just silly. I made a comment above comparing him to Mateen Cleaves.

yrro's picture

Craft's problem is that he's a good distributor on offense without anyone on the team to distribute to.

dubjayfootball90's picture

I just love how, for every steal Craft has for the rest of his career, he is setting a new record. Yea, its because he is white.... smh

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Craft has gotten "recognition beyond his abilities?" Because of one little story in SI? Seems to me Craft has a ways to go before challenging a certain shoelace-challenged ex-quarterback-up-north for that honor.
"Recognition beyond his abilities" would be if he made All-American or something like that. But he's a three-year starter on a perennial winner and Final Four team. They tend to get noticed.
Granted that it's ridiculous to pretend the general phenomenon Couch talks about does not exist (example: any one of thousands of articles written on Duke basketball in the last 30 years), but this comes across as butthurt after a beating.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

GoBucksToledo's picture

...also, Academic All American

jbarnes2105's picture

Graham Couch seems to be butt-hurt because he is a white guy with rosy cheeks, and doesnt get any attention himself. Shut the hell up and give Craft the credit he has earned.

skiehl's picture

Has nothing to do with him having the most steals in school history...

GABuckeye's picture

Yeah...... and Tiger Woods only gets press because he's black.  SMH

Gametime's picture

That's definitely the product of butthurt analysis. I won't say that there isn't ANY merit to what he's saying though. And that's not derivative of him, but it's something I've noticed over all the years I've watched sports. 

I'm not sure if it's a network thing, but you'll notice how when it comes to certain types of players announcers/commentators/writers always use a certain set of compliments or adjectives to describe a certain type of player.

Like when White players who are great are talked about it, they tend to talk about how hard they outwork the other guys, heady/smart, high motors, etc. to go along with the generic compliments, then with Minority players they trend toward how athletic, explosive, or dynamic a player is, his skillset or natural ability/gifted. Like a white guy can't be explosive or a minority guy be heady or whatever.

NOT saying this ALWAYS happens, and that it's not true on occasion either way, but it does happen. 

AC -  is THEE definition of hard work beating talent when talent doesn't work hard. If the other players on the team had AC's work ethic we would destroy EVERYONE.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

dancorona5's picture

I think a lot of it depends on what sport is being talked about and at what position.
Basketball - usually if a white guy is a Center no one will make much comments about it.
Football - white positions are generally Lineman (offense and Defense), Linebacker, QB and TE. And of course, K/P
If a player breaks these rules, they are described as above...but you left out my favorite adjective for white guys...scrappy!

Gametime's picture

Don't forget hard-nosed, blue collar, or lunch pail guys, LoL. I agree though.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Good observations concerning the tendencies of some announcers/commentators/writers to describe different players differently based on race/ethnicity.
In this case, what I think the columnist is missing is that if Craft's offensive game was among the top 5 or 10 best offensive PGs in the nation, he'd be approaching all-time great player status. 
Yet no one is saying that of Craft - they're pretty much saying the same thing this columnist is saying, i.e., "amazing defender" + "pretty good, but not special offensively, although capable of having occasional offensive outbursts on an opportunistic basis." 
Now, if other writers/analysts were saying that Craft is a great offensive player and/or allt-time great college PG, then maybe we'd suspect that they were being mesmerized by the rosy cheeks. But since they're not saying those things, maybe it's this Michigan columnist who is the one fixated on Craft's whiteness and rosy cheeks?  

Orlando Pancakes's picture

Great point Fido. Nobody is saying he is an offensive machine, merely that he is the best lock-down defender in the country......with the stats (not the skin color) to back it up.

Gametime's picture

Agreed Fido, he's definitely coming from an area of in the realm of preparation H dependence. If AC was black I think the hype would be just the same, ESPECIALLY if he had rosy cheeks, LOL.

Matter of fact, I'm coining the nickname ACR for Craft from now on. 

Seeing Crafts lateral quickness & relentless demeanor makes me wonder how he was on the field though!

Does anyone have football highlights of him????

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

Hovenaut's picture

You have got to be kidding.......

What a wizard this guy is.

gobucks96's picture

Well, looks like Graham wanted some attention this week... Too bad most of it will be for the egg on his face.

Scott K's picture

"Craft’s career-high 21 points, six assists, three boards and a steal led the Buckeyes’ upset of No. 4 Michigan State Sunday, giving Thad Matta yet another 20-win season."
Lets see, someone who DOES know the game is Tom Izzo:  
MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo praised Craft, saying, “In the second half, he tore us apart. He beat us every way you can beat us.”
Sounds pretty over rated to me...

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

DefendOhio's picture

I'm hoping Matta tapes this story to Craft's locker. I would love to see this fire him and the rest of the team up. 


That might be one of the most ignorant articles I've ever read. We've all seen how Craft's play can affect an entire ball game. We don't beat Syracuse in the regional final last year if not for Craft harrassing the Orange guards. The dude flat out dominates when he plays his game.
If Craft were black I guess that his play would be under-valued then? Never read anything so asinine and stupid in my whole life. No wonder East Lansing is the armpit of the world.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

GoBucksToledo's picture


brumon's picture

OH, the Butthurt!

BUCKfutter's picture

this is why the song talks about giving zero damns for the STATE, not just one school

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

rdubs's picture

I think that he does receive attention beyond his skill level, but it is more because he is also a great student and is charismatic making him easy for fans to relate to.  
See Denard Robinson for a similar comparison of an African-American athlete who received undeserved love from fans based on skill level, but again he was charismatic and fun loving so the fans could relate to him despite his repeated arm-punts on Saturdays.

buckeyestu's picture

wonder how much money the writer lost on the game, perhaps he doubled down his bet at halftime? maybe a doctor should check this guy for butthurt? and maybe this writer was a point guard in high school who absolutely sucked and is jealous. or maybe he is just racist. coach izzo spoke highly of craft after the game. i dont much like izzo, but i would suspect he is more knowledgable about basketball that this racist spewing writer.

d1145fresh's picture

There are very important aspects of sports that can also be important aspects of race relations in this country... but this isn't one of them. There are great white point guards there are great black point guards but no matter the color of one's skin, what Craft brings to the floor makes him a premier player in the NCAA. If he looked like Appling or Burke he would still be considered the best on ball defender in the B1G just like if he was white and could score like Burke people would say damn that kid is really good and maybe B1G player of the year. This just shows the problem with 'media' now-and-days who write provocative pieces not because it is good journalism but because they hope it will generate page views. 

ih8rolltyde's picture

Dead on. Blame it on the internets. You don't have to be right or intelligent any longer... You just gotta be first or controversial. Sources, stats, and info be damned, just get pageviews.

****igan smells like old water that hot dogs were boiled in.  FACT

cinserious's picture

Heres an idea, respect Craft and stay off the ball a little because you're not taking it from him and he will make you pay. This year, Craft is stepping up his offensive game because of a lack of a strong back-to-the-basket inside presence and lack of a slashing scorer who can create off the dribble.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Sgt. Elias's picture

Dear Mr Couch,

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

BuckeyeCash22's picture

So, is this guy trying to say Crafty wouldn't/couldn't start for MSU, or any other team in the country for that matter? 
I just don't understand where the motive to even write something like that comes from...

brumon's picture

I just don't understand where the motive to even write something like that comes from...


BuckeyeChief's picture

This is why we don't give a d@mn for the whole state...

"2014 National Champions...deal with it!!!"

Denny's picture

Yes but is he scrappy and/or well-spoken


northcampus's picture

The guy just wants as many clicks to his article as possible.  In today's media, more controversy brings more hits to a page.  He throws out the bait and we all snatch it up.

yrro's picture

I made a point of not actually clicking the link for that reason.

Michael Citro's picture

Aaron Craft is properly rated for his hustle and defensive prowess. No one rates him as a premier scorer, just as a premier player. Which he is. Duh. Also, he's dreamy.

MediBuck's picture

Sigh... The kid is a defensive specialist and distributor. Again, there's proof that all the basketball world cares for is ridiculous jams and video-game point totals. I, for one, model my game around Craft. I'm not a good pull-up shooter and don't have the size to play well under the rim. I try to play tenacious defense, though, and nothing gets in an opposing team's shooter's head like having a hand in his face every time he touches the ball. Without Craft, our team wouldn't even be in the conversation this year.
Also, Couch is jealous that his cheeks aren't that beautifully rosy.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

William's picture

Time to bust this bad boy out: 

old_rasputin's picture

Well played, sir.

"We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we'll be back, and someone will pay the price." Coach Hayes

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Typical state up north crap.  The M is for moron, and the S is for stupid. 
And yes, I ripped TSUN and MSU both.  As Jake Stoneburner would say - same area, still sucks.

Class of 2010.

Geraffi's picture

That quote needs to be on a T-Shirt. 

Toilrt Paper's picture

Was Appling a star 3 year starter at QB in HS? Does Applng have a 3.92 GPA. Can Appling solve a Rubics Cube puzzle in under 3 minutes? Is Appling THE NCAA basketball Academic Player of the year?  All accomplishments of Craft told by commentators about Craft during televised games. :)

Buckeyeboy's picture

What a whiny, sports-writing homer! Does he get a pass to write something as senselessly racist as the above because her's white? I hope not.
If the rag he writes for had any integrity he'd loose his job out of pure ignorance, but then again, he apparently got a green light to print this drivel from his editor, so he's probably in for a raise instead.

Go Bucks!

luckynutz's picture

I understand its hard to like craft if you're a fan of any other B1G team. Or beat writer for said B1G teams. He's a pesky, larcenous, energetic little turd whose main goal on game day is to mentally break down your teams PG. You don't have to like him. But you damn well better respect him for what he brings to the game. He could be purple for all I care, doesn't change the fact he changes the game with his dedication to the dirty work.

There's plenty of guys who made a nice living being lock down defenders with limited offensive skill sets. Bruce bowen won some rings with the spurs being a defensive specialist. Same with ben wallace for the pistons. And dennis rodman. They were all praised for their dedication to the dirty work. Rodman was also just a weird dude, but that's beside the point. And how about that john stockton guy. He was pretty good wasn't he...granted, his importance on the offensive side of the ball was far greater than crafts. But he was a hell of an on the ball defender. And no one cared how white he was. I was more concerned by how damn short his shorts were.

I'm not comparing craft to stockton. John stocktons a hall of fame PG. And I don't remember hearing anything about stocktons whiteness. That's the point. This douche from lansing just felt a need to be a douche. Shocking.

buckeyedude's picture

I guess Graham Couch had his "Jimmy the Greek" moment. Wonder if he'll lose his job like Jimmy did?



Haybucks's picture

Not likely at LSJ.  Jack Ebling will probably give him a promotion and make him a radio starlet.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


ArizonaBuckeye's picture

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

Haybucks's picture

LSJ sports writers have long been anti anything Scarlet & Gray.  Jack Ebling is the worst and undoubtedly Couch is trying to draft his mentor's wind.
Put the game on the radio and Couch and Ebling would think Mateen Cleaves was playing for the good guys.  Although, Craft is clearly not as mean or emotional as Cleaves.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


bucksfan92's picture

Wow, it is hard to believe an editor would let that crap go through, but then mainstream "journalism" hasn't really been such for a while now...  Anyway, this just continues to validate my very fist thought upon seeing Craft play in his first exhibition game as a freshman. I turned to my Dad about 5 minutes into the game and said "wow, Big 10 fans are gonna HATE this guy for 4 years!"  
And I find it quite interesting that he actually fits the mold of a prototypical Izzo PG.  On the small side (although I'd argue Craft is stronger than most of Izzo's PGs), defense first, nagging defense to the point of frustration and anger on the other side; assists first on offense, then scoring is kind of an afterthought.  I don't seem to remember people being all up in arms when Drew Neitzel, a GASP!, white guy, hit more 3s in a half than he did in his entire life, and led MSU to a near upset in the Schott a few years back.

MN Buckeye's picture

Well, at least a newspaper I never heard of is getting a lot of chatter on a tOSU web site.

Jhesse17's picture

As some of you might know I am fairly convinced that people like ADV because he's white. But to say that Craft did not deserve to be all B1G and got it because he's white is ridiculous and insulting. I think it has a lot more to do about his defensive skills than his skin color.

Buckeyejason's picture

I'm just glad it was a white guy writing it.


BuckeyeMike2002's picture

Didn't Bobby Knight once say that sports writing is only a few steps above prostitution? You don't have to be a fan of Aaron Craft or the Buckeyes to respect what this kid has done.
When his basketball days are done Aaron Craft will be a good man, he will succeed at whatever he chooses. This sportswriter will still be a moron long after Aaron Craft is done playing basketball.

Q: What is the difference between the Michigan Football Team and a bag of crap. A: The Bag.

WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

"No S**t Sherlock" - Every black dude in America.

-2 HS