972 career points, 530 career assists, and a school record 248 career steals. A Sweet Sixteen game-winner, a three-time defensive All-American, Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and the MVP of the 2012-2013 Big Ten Tournament. And a fiancé. I think it’s safe to say Aaron Craft has made the most of his time in Columbus. While balancing a new engagement and a 3.89 GPA (yes, you read that right), the Buckeyes will be asking for Craft to add another task to his plate this winter: improved scoring. In Craft’s three seasons, OSU has relied on high volume scorers Jared Sullinger and DeShaun Thomas. With Sullinger drafted last year and Thomas this year, Craft will need to pick up some offensive slack this season. A highly respected defender, Craft’s offensive game is productive but not necessarily jaw-dropping. His 41% field goal percentage and 30% 3 point percentage were both career worsts last season, but arguably more importantly, his 2.42 assist turnover ratio was among the best in the Big Ten.
There is evidence for hope for Craft’s offensive game. Based off his last two performances against Michigan State last season, we know Craft can put the ball in the hoop. In those two games, Craft averaged 20.5 points per game and 69% shooting. Granted it is a very small sample size, but it shows Craft has it in him. For the Buckeyes to repeat their Elite Eight success from last season, Craft will need to continue his defensive prowess and boost his offensive game along with new go-to’s LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson. While neither are Sullinger/Thomas, they will find consistent good looks with Craft at point. Craft has also reportedly spent most of his offseason working on his mediocre outside shooting, so if that parallels to in-game success, we could be in for a special senior year. Despite the loss of scoring talent, the true heart and soul of this Buckeyes team has another year to shine. Who knows, maybe more shots like this are still to come (video has some NSFW commentary following the shot).