Thursday, March 20, 2014

I like Aaron Craft, why do people hate him?

I think Aaron Craft is what the NCAA is thinking about when they flash signs and advertisements during March Madness that say "student athlete." Is Aaron Craft human?  Yes.  Will he make mistakes?  Yes.  Could he mess up off the court and do something stupid? Yes.  But for some reason people like to hate Aaron Craft.  Is it because he's not a great shooter?  He was never touted as a great shooter.  Is he a solid offensive player?  Yes.  Is he a greater scorer? No.  He gets the ball to the people who can score.  He gets the ball to people who are comfortable in certain scoring areas.  Was he supposed to pick up some of the scoring slack at Ohio State this year?  Not sure he was.  I think some other players were expected to pick up some of that load.  He will leave Ohio State as one of the greatest players to every play in Columbus.  Defensive player of the year, All Conference, Academic All American.  Oh yeah, Aaron Craft goes to class. He plans on going to medical school.  He is a student athlete. ESPN.COM's  Rick Reilly wrote a great column about Craft.
He's the kind of player John Wooden would've liked. Come to think of it, he's a little like the player John Wooden was at Purdue. He spreads his game over all the stat page. Nine points a game, four steals, five assists, three floor burns, two charges and one win. That kind of thing.
He doesn't do double digits, doesn't worry about the NBA and doesn't even look much like a modern college athlete. He looks more like the kid who rounds up grocery carts and mows the old couple's lawn for free every Sunday.
I guess I just don't understand why there are so many haters out there.  I do understand why the fans of OSU opponents don't like him.  That's normal in college basketball.  When I watch my favorite teams play I typically don't like the opponent but there are times when I would like some of their players on my team.  I'm sure Michigan fans who hate Craft would love him if he was on their team.  So that is normal.  But sometimes the abuse crosses the line.  It's almost the same way Tim Tebow was treated.  Athletes who try to be good role models, aren't afraid to talk about their faith, and take their role as student athletes pretty seriously.  Even the way Craft handles the verbal abuse is almost admirable.
"The verbal assaults really got tense this year," says Craft, the point guard for the 25-9 Buckeyes, who lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament last week and enter March Madness as a 6-seed. "They're at my fiancé, at my sister. They even said my mom is a bad cook. Now hold on. That's not even true. My mom is a great cook. Her lasagna is fantastic."
I, like Reilly, will miss Aaron Craft.  Does he have a shot to play in the NBA.  Who cares?  If this guy is a doctor someday he would probably do more good for society than being in the NBA.  I bet those haters out there would like Craft if he walked into the operating room to perform their surgery with that same great passion and work ethic that he displays when he plays basketball.

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