Aaron Craft's NBA Draft shaft

Goodnight, sweet prince. - Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Our greatest fear has been realized. Every NBA team passed on Ohio's favorite son.

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang, but with a 16.7 PER.

As the NBA Draft came to a close on Thursday evening, with the self-satisfied fanfare that always accompanies the coronation of a new crop of professional talent, there was a hollow ringing in the ears of Ohio State fans across the land. It was a ringing borne on the empty air hanging at the empty podium, air which had failed to carry out to us the name we had all been waiting to hear: Aaron Craft.

Of course, we mostly expected it. Craft wasn't really considered a serious NBA prospect after his sophomore season, when it became pretty clear who he was and who he wasn't. We all know who he was. What he wasn't: a jump-shooting threat. An offensive mastermind. A guy who could consistently create his own shot.

I think what we were all holding out for was one last bit of Aaron Craft magic. You know, like this. We managed to convince ourselves that if a team just gave him a chance, he'd morph into the kind of guy who would do some serious damage at the next level.

Once, imbued with the courage and confidence that only cheap oat sodas can bring on, I declared to a group of my Syracuse friends that Aaron Craft was nothing if not a poor man's Steve Nash. You'll all see, I said. You'll eat that laughter and a bit of crow to go with it. I was...uhh...wrong. But these were the kind of statements I needed to make in order to survive in a wilderness of people who honestly thought Scoop Jardine was the next Deron Williams.

I guess I've written all this just to say how much I'm going to miss watching Aaron Craft play, now that it looks like the window has seemingly closed for good. And no, I will not wax poetic about Playing The Right Way or any of those other meaningless bits of saccharine word-vomit that make sports fans want to put their heads through walls. Watching Aaron Craft direct the Buckeye basketball team was like watching a controlled 40-minute explosion--you were always pretty sure things would turn out okay, but there was enough of a sense of danger and chaos to keep things interesting. Interesting is important, especially in the B1G mid-winter slate of games against cellar dwellers and rivals alike.

Craft's freshman year was a breath of fresh air for Buckeye fans. He was like PJ Hill with a jump shot, which should tell you something about PJ Hill's jump shot. Still, the parallels were undeniable--both guards, the famous one and the unheralded one, were defensive maniacs. Both provided a much-needed burst of energy to Buckeye teams that were at times lethargic, every time they stepped on the floor. Both had sweet braids...okay, you get the idea.

For all we know, this isn't the end for Aaron Craft. Plenty of NBA teams have spent plenty of money on guys who were easily worse choices than the diminutive point guard from Findlay. Craft finished his Ohio State career with exceptional numbers in several major categories: he finished in the B1G's top 5 in assists every season, as well as finishing in the top 3 in the conference in steal percentage. He is the B1G career steals leader, with 337; his career offensive rating of 110.6 is good for 7th all-time in the conference. That last number might seem remarkable if you have ever watched Craft attempt a jumper in traffic, but it speaks volumes about his ability to create shots for others even if he couldn't consistently create his own. We broke down his career stats more fully mid-season, and they stayed incredibly level throughout the remainder of his senior year.

Craft has publicly stated that his desire to play professional basketball supersedes his immediate desire to go to medical school. There's a good chance that he'll catch on somewhere in Europe--I'm holding out for Parisian club JSF Nanterre to pick him up, a move that could reunite Craft with former teammates Deshaun Thomas and David Lighty. Make it happen, Nanterre! The state of Ohio is ready and willing to lead the country in French basketball jerseys purchased per capita.

But even if it works out, and he gets to play for a few league championships over in Europe and has a perfectly fine career, the part of me that is still a kid will always be sad that one of my favorite players never saw the floor in the NBA. And I will think of Aaron Craft's cheeks, and the words of Tupac Shakur, and try to find some comfort:

Did you hear about the rose that grew from the crack in the concrete?

Proving nature's laws wrong, it learned to walk without feet

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air,

Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.

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