The dream of an Aaron Craft long term return to American professional basketball will have to wait once again.
Less than a year after returning to the D-League to finish last season with the Santa Cruz Warriors, the developmental affiliate of the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors, Craft is returning to Europe, on a one-year deal in Italy. Craft will spend next season in Trento, Trentino playing for Serie A club Aquila Basket Trento.
The former D-League defender of the year spent most of last season with Szolnoki Olaj KK, a Hungarian League team. In his 10 league games, Craft averaged 4.3 points per game to go along with 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per contest.
Though it’s hardly uncommon for Americans playing professionally abroad to leave due to culture shock or a variety of extra-basketball challenges, Craft spoke more to the club specifically being problematic rather than the difficulties of adjusting or otherwise.
“It was interesting. Basketball over there is a little different,” Craft told D-League Digest when he left Szolnoki Olaj last season to return stateside. “The way they like to play, things like that. So that was an adjustment. But, once you get used to it it’s not so bad. It just wasn’t a great situation for me. The team’s doing pretty well so just trying to make a decision that’s best for myself and hopefully this is it.”
Craft spent the past few months trying to catch the eyes of NBA scouts while playing for the Utah Jazz’s Summer League team. He averaged 6.4 points per game, 2.2 rebounds and 3 assists but elected to pursue guarantees in Europe than try to catch on with an NBA team’s expanded training camp roster.
Craft’s new coach Maurizio Buscaglia’s review of the Buckeye was glowing in a statement translated by Land-Grant Holy Land.
“Aaron Craft is a player of great strength, both offensively and defensively. This is a very aggressive point guard who will make us great in transition because he knows how to attack the iron, has a great dribble drive and shot and knows how to play upright while taking contract. He has considerable abilities to play the pick-and-roll, read the game and involve his teammates due to his remarkable skills as a facilitator. He's so perfect for the kind of team we have built, based on his great sharing offensively as well as what he brings defensively. With his mentality, his defensive quality and his energy, we believe he and [Argentinian guard] Toto Forray will form a great duo.”