Aaron Craft's basketball career might not be completely over just yet.
After Carmen's Crew suffered a shocking first-game loss to House of 'Paign in its first game of The Basketball Tournament on Wednesday, Craft – who suffered a knee injury during the third quarter, but returned later in the third quarter to finish the game – left the door open when asked about the possibility that he could return to TBT next year.
“My knee hurts a lot right now,” Craft said. “So I don’t know, man. There’s a lot of thoughts going in my mind right now, a lot of emotions. I don’t know how chubby I’m gonna be next summer anyway, so they might not even want me back. I could be out of shape, can’t move, worse than this year. So no, I have no idea. I can’t say yes, I definitely can’t say no. So we’ll see how it goes.”
Craft is retiring from playing professional basketball overseas, after spending the last six years playing in Europe, as he will begin medical school at Ohio State this fall. Even before Wednesday's game, though, Craft seemingly left the door open to play in TBT again when asked about this being his final tournament.
Knowing that it could be his final competitive basketball game, however, made Wednesday's 76-68 loss – a stark difference from last year, when Carmen's Crew went all the way to win the TBT title – a tough pill to swallow.
“For me personally, it is sad. It is tough,” Craft said. “Most people don’t go out how they hope to, but sometimes it happens. So I got an opportunity to play again with these guys and hang out with them for five days in the hotel, so TBT gave me that opportunity. So I’m thankful for that. It’s tough.”
As for the rest of the Ohio State alumni squad, Jon Diebler – who said they will try to talk Craft into playing again next year – said he believes they will team up to play in TBT once again in 2021, but that it's too early to commit to anything right now.
“Obviously guys are going to play professionally overseas, and it's kind of a unique situation with what's going on now, so when guys are leaving, we're not sure, and when guys will be back. It's something that I'm sure we're all planning on playing again, but we all talk throughout the year, so it's something that we'll definitely play by ear,” Diebler said. “We love playing in the TBT, we think they do a great job of hosting the tournament. We love playing on the same team together. We're here every offseason. We work out together every day in the offseason. We all live in Columbus, so it's easy for us if we want to play to get back into it.”