If you have been following Ohio State basketball for any amount of years, you know exactly who Aaron Craft is and what he means to the program. Craft is one of the most liked and revered Buckeye hoopers of all-time, and gave Ohio State fans some of their best memories of the past 20 years in Buckeye basketball.
For good reason, Craft is being inducted into the class of 2022 Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in September, along with 14 other former Buckeye athletes.
The class of 2022 includes Billy Ray Anders (football), Greg Bice (men’s lacrosse), John Bluem (men’s soccer coach), Charles W. Bolen (football/men’s basketball), Joel Brown (men’s track), Adam Crompton (men’s fencing), Jenna Harris Griffin (women’s track), Alayna Markwordt (women’s lacrosse), Russ Nagelson (baseball), Shawn Springs (football), Logan Stieber (wrestling), Jonathan Sweet (baseball), Tom Tupa (football), Dan Whitacre (wrestling) and Craft for men’s basketball.
Aaron Craft played for the Buckeyes basketball program from 2010-2014. He came in as a big time recruit in the state of Ohio, averaging 26 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and 3.2 steals per game during his senior year at Liberty-Benton High School in Findlay, Ohio. He was ranked as a high four-star and a top 100 player in the country when he committed to Ohio State.
When he got to Columbus, he immediately slotted in as the starting point guard on a team with national title ambitions. He made the Big Ten All-Freshman team and Big Ten All-Defensive team after his first season. He proceeded to make the All-Defensive team all four years he was at Ohio State.
He made his mark on defense and controlling the flow of the offense from the minute he got to Ohio State and never let up in either of those regards. Craft was named to the Big Ten Network’s All-Decade Team as a Third Team member, and holds the record for most steals in Ohio State basketball history and Big Ten basketball history with 337.
Through his four years with the Buckeyes, Craft averaged 8.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. He also averaged 2.3 steals per contest and averaged as high as 2.5 steals per game his sophomore and senior season. Craft finished Second Team All-Big Ten in 2013 and Third Team All-Big Ten in 2014.
He also hit a game winning shot in the NCAA tournament against Iowa State to advance the Buckeyes to the Elite Eight during his junior season. A man not known for his jumper, but he stepped up when needed time and time again.
And with all of the stats, accolades and records that he holds, none of that is what made Aaron Craft so special to Ohio State basketball and to the fans.
When Ohio State fans think of Aaron Craft, they think of the tenacity in which he played every game with. The true embodiment of, “leaving it all out on the court”. He was a player that Ohio State fans loved and every other fanbase hated — and those are the best kind. He did it all without ever stooping to anyone’s level or playing dirty. It takes serious skill to play four years as a defensive stalwart and never gain a bad moniker around the country.
The way Aaron Craft carried the Ohio State name when he was in Columbus was admiral, but he has even continued to do so in the now 10 years that he has been gone. Craft has been a mainstay for the Ohio State Alumni team, Carmen’s Crew, in The Basketball Tournament, and he comes back every year for vet week to help mentor and teach the young and active Ohio State players.
So congrats to Aaron Craft for his induction to the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. Well deserved.