Catching Up With Aaron Craft

By Alex Gleitman on April 28, 2010 at 7:00 am
Aaron Craft

While Spring Football will be on our minds for the next few weeks as we head into the lull of summer, we must not forget about the empire that That Thad Matta has built in the Jerome Schottenstein Center, better known as Ohio State basketball. In just about a month and a half, the hoops recruiting class of 2010 or “The Super Six” will make their way to Columbus to enroll at OSU and begin their highly anticipated careers in the Scarlet and Gray. While Jared Sullinger and DeShaun Thomas have taken most of the accolades as they garnered almost every type of All-American honor you can think of in the last year, neither may be the most important player in the incoming group.

That claim can go to Aaron Craft, the 6-1/175 point guard out of Liberty-Benton in Findlay, who steps into a big pair of shoes that Evan Turner left vacated when he took the jump to the NBA following his National Player of the Year junior campaign. Some have speculated that David Lighty, Jon Diebler, or William Buford may take over the ball handling duties much like Turner did this year after playing the wing for most of his career, but Craft is determined to prove he is fully capable of taking over as just a true freshman. Craft has the intangibles every coach wants out of their starting lead guard and his effort on the defensive side of the floor coupled with his advanced court vision and ability to see the passing lanes make him truly a viable candidate. He is also a great athlete, having played quarterback throughout high school, and some even saw him as a Division I football prospect.

Chemistry may be the only thing holding him back, but Craft plans to do something about that as he will travel down frequently to Columbus for open gym sessions while he finishes up school in the hopes that playing with his future teammates makes his transition to a potential starting job a little bit easier. In addition, he played AAU on the All-Ohio Red team with three of his fellow incoming classmates in Sullinger, Jordan Sibert, and JD Weatherspoon, so he is already quite comfortable with some of the players that he may be sharing court time with. We caught up with Aaron to discuss his impending arrival in Columbus, what he expects out of his freshman year, what number he will sport next season, his switch from Tennessee to Ohio State, and more after the jump.

Now that you’ve signed your letter of intent, how does it feel to be an official Buckeye?

It is a great feeling to be a part of Buckeye Nation. I’m very excited to get down there!

What is your current schedule from now until you get to campus? When will you move in to the dorms at OSU?

Right now I am planning on heading down throughout May to play and workout with the guys. I will be arriving officially around the middle of June.

With Evan Turner gone, the starting point guard spot is wide open. It's not easy for a freshman to lead a team expected to do great things next year, but do you expect to come in and start right away?

I understand the point guard position and I know nothing will ever be given to me. I am very excited to go down there and work to become the best player that I can be. If that is enough for the coaching staff, then great! I will do everything I can do to prepare myself for whatever the coaches need me to do.

What skill can you bring to the team next year that it may have been lacking without a "true" point guard the last few years?

Well I think the guys that have stepped in to play that position have done a great job and I can only hope to replicate their success. I feel I bring intensity on defense and a great understanding of the game. Knowing what to do and when to do it is a very big key to success.

You play AAU with Jared, Jordan, and JD, but what is your relationship like with DeShaun and Lenzelle?

I have only met DeShaun a couple of times, but he was easy to be around and I look forward to getting to know him further. Lenzelle and I actually roomed together at a camp so we have gotten to know each other pretty well.

You were originally committed to Tennessee (ironically enough, it seems former OSU verbal, Trae Golden took your spot there). What happened in the recruiting process that made you change your mind to go with Ohio State? Was it always going to be OSU as long as an offer was on the table?

I had just reevaluated what I wanted. When I started the process I said I would like to stay within a 3-4 hour radius of home. I was just fortunate that OSU had an opening for me. I couldn’t say that it was a done deal, but it definitely worked out great for me.

Do you know what your major at OSU will be? Who will you be rooming with? What number will you wear?

I am going to head down there without a major decided. I am going to explore the various fields of study then decide. I believe Jordan [Sibert] and I will be rooming together. I will be wearing number 4.

Is there a player you like to style your game after or that your skill set compares to?

I don’t think I could give you one specific person I attempt to replicate myself after. I try to watch a plethora of players and take bits from each, like Steve Nash and Chauncey Billups.

What have the OSU coaches told you they would like you to work on before you suit up for the Bucks next season?

They would like me to continually improve my ball handling, to keep working on my shot, and to just be consistent. They are stressing working on my cardio as well.

If you could tell Buckeye Nation one thing, what would it be?

If I could tell Buckeye Nation one thing, I would say that I am greatly looking forward to getting down there and doing everything I can to make an impact!