Craft Named National Defensive Player of the Year

By Kyle Rowland on April 3, 2014 at 10:00a
36 Comments

Ohio State guard Aaron Craft has added to an already overflowing trophy case. On Thursday, the National Association of Basketball Coaches named Craft the National Defensive Player of the Year.

Craft joins Greg Oden as the only Buckeyes to ever receive the award.

“The NABC National Defensive Player of the Year award culminates one of the most extraordinary careers I’ve experienced in all my years associated the college basketball,” head coach Thad Matta said in a statement. “From the first practice through his final game, Aaron Craft utilized every ounce of his ability on the basketball court, particularly on the defensive end. Aaron and his family certainly deserve this recognition.”

Craft will be presented with the award at the Final Four in Dallas Sunday.

During a decorated four-year career, Craft broke numerous program and Big Ten records. His 337 steals are the most in conference history and his 98 steals as a sophomore established a new single-season school record.

Mike Krzyzewski, Billy Donovan, Bill Self, Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan are just a handful of coaches who lauded Craft’s defensive prowess the past four years. Kansas was the lone school out of those five that Ohio State didn’t beat during Craft’s career. Still, he managed to tally six steals in three games.

Craft is a two-time recipient of the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year award and four-time member of the conference’s all-defensive team. 

36 Comments

Comments

Buckeye1004's picture

Congratulations Mr. Craft!!!!!  Anyone have any information on his draft status?  I've heard that he will never make it in the NBA and I just find that hard to believe.

 

+2 HS
Jason Gruber's picture

I also have a hard time believing that this kid "can't make it" in the NBA. Someone needs to grab him if only for his defense and hustle. They can develop him into a better scorer. 

"You win with People" Woody Hayes

TheSpiteHouse's picture

As much as I don't want to be overly negative, I typically can't imagine someone being a better scorer in the pros than they were in college.

CGroverL's picture

Typically, you are correct....but Craft plays good enough defense to where his lack of scoring shouldn't hinder him as a player. He is great at picking up "garbage points" for a guard and despite his lack of scoring, he is great off of the glass and takes advantage of a guard that plays sloppy defense....and the NBA is full of players that play hard on offense to the point where they don't play as hard on defense. 8 points, 8 assists, 2.5 steals with minimal turnovers ARE NBA type numbers and his basketball knowledge is above average as well. There has to be a team out there that would like a point guard to put up those numbers as long as he isn't a turnover liability. He would be perfect on one of those New York Knick teams that were defensive specialists from 20 years ago....if there are any teams like that around anymore........

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

+1 HS
UrbanPirate's picture

As a biased Bulls fan, I've gotta think Tom Thibodeau would absolutely loooove to have a player with the work/practice mentality of Craft (not to mention the obvious defensive skill set). I'm not as hip to the NBA pre-draft scene so I'll refrain from speculation but whatever happens, Aaron would for sure have a seat at the table in Chicago.. Plus, could you imagine a line-up filled with any more universally hated college players than Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Kirk Hinrich, and Aaron Craft?? 

Regardless, congratulations and best wishes young man, you will be missed.

Just... Go Bucks.

    

+5 HS
TBDBITL0509's picture

Awesome point re: most hated college players. Trade for J.J. Redick and you'd be set!

+2 HS
ibuck's picture

can't imagine someone being a better scorer in the pros than they were in college.

Don't you know Buckeye Basketball history? OSU's John Havlicek was drafted by the Boston Celtics as a defensive specialist, and became the Celtics all-time leading scorer, averaging over 20 ppg for his career.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

+1 HS
CGroverL's picture

I think that someone will grab him. His passing ability as well as his scoring ability have not yet reach their pinnacles. There is no reason to think that Craft cannot reach Steve Nash type numbers after a few years and Nash took a while to improve his scoring before he was ever though of as an MVP candidate.

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

+1 HS
BuckeyeSouth's picture

Congrats, Aaron.  Very much deserved!

Embrace it.

+2 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

weird to think we played Kansas 3 times over 4 years.

+4 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

And lost all three...  : (

+1 HS
CGroverL's picture

Never have I seen a guard that did so much on the defensive end of the court. This award was much deserved and Aaron Craft shows the heart of a lion on a court filled with giants as his game changing abilities often made him the best player on the floor while putting up just single digits scoring. If there is another Aaron Craft to come along, I really hope he is a Buckeye. Congratulations, MISTER Craft. Thanks for all of your hard work and leadership both on and off of the court. Buckeye Nation owes you.

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

+3 HS
OSUFlash's picture

Simply amazing!!!! I'll never forget that rebound at the end of the MSU game. Craft at his best.

osuflash

+4 HS
BuckeyeinToledo's picture

Dr. Craft!!

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

-Woody Hayes

+1 HS
BoFuquel's picture

Congrats Aaron. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

+1 HS
RedStorm45's picture

Pretty sure he's reaching in / fouling in that picture haha

 

Congrats to A.C.  Best of luck in the future!

+1 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

"See, there's proof! Craft fouls every single time and he gets away with it!"

                                                                        ---- every B1G fan base

+2 HS
bodast67's picture

I actually think he had already hit the ball and this point in the picture was as he was following through with the steal.

 

 

 

     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

sivaDavis's picture

Clean steal baby, clean steal!

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Based on the picture, he doesn't appear to be making any contact that is not induced by the offensive player.  Therefore, no foul.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

+2 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

If Bruce Bowen can have a career as a defensive specialist, then I certainly think Aaron Craft can be utilized in the NBA. He will likely need to play in Europe for a few years, first, which would be great for him. He could develop his own offensive game, and be a defensive legend where the teams aren't known for playing great defense.

All that being said, tho, I could also see him going right on to med school and furthering his contributions to the world as Dr. Craft. Either way, good luck and thanks for being one of the all-time greats at OSU!

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

Jpfbuck's picture

and Bruce Bowen averaged 15.4 points per game his last 2 years in college

+1 HS
jbcuky's picture

and Bruce Bowen was 6'7"

+1 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

But was never counted on for offensive production. His role was defensive stopper. He averaged 6 pts/game on 41% shooting for his NBA career. He also didn't grab a whole lot of rebounds, averaging less than 3/game.

Craft is 6'2", which is fine size for an NBA point guard. Bowen played primarily small forward. And Craft has shown that he can handle occasionally guarding someone bigger. 

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Congrats #4.   Well deserved. 

...Now come play for Urban and get the same honor in football.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

+1 HS
bodast67's picture

Awesome news and well deserved !

 

 

 

     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

+1 HS
sgehrich's picture

Congrats Aaron! I certainly think there's a place in the NBA for a ball hawking defender and game manager who doesn't score much. Plus, he's actually very good at driving to the basket and finishing. He just didn't take the opportunity as much as he could've. 

+1 HS
Horvath22's picture

Well done, Aaron

+1 HS
buckeyeboy31's picture

Color me shocked that TV Teddy Valentine didn't somehow weasel himself or super-impose himself into this picture.....

+1 HS
Deadly Nuts's picture

He's only the third PG to ever win the award, the first was Tommy Amaker in '87 and the second was John Linehan in '02. 

LEBRON

+1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Well done Aaron.  I know you'll be great at whatever you do.  I'll miss ya.

Buckeye in Texas

+1 HS
buckeyes7222's picture

In the last 10-20 picks, why wouldn't you take a chance on him? Most players picked that late don't see much of the floor anyways. If he develops a solid jump shot (a big if, I know), he could turn into a good backup/defensive stopper in crunch time at the very least.

+1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Way to Go AC!

Told ya, told ya.  OSU gets to the Final Four.  LOL

I think that if someone fixes his shot, now that is has been really screwed up, he will increase his offensive scoring.

 

 

Go Bucks!

Go Bucks!

ToTheHouse's picture

How many times over we all know the National Association of Basketball Coaches National Defensive Player of the Year for 2013-14 would trade any award for: one more game, one more opportunity to get his best-buds one step closer to a NC...the total-TEAM-player...Crafty  

Mella's picture

I definitely could see him as an Eric Snow type of player in the NBA

Seattle Linga's picture

Congrats Aaron well deserved