Tag:Aaron Craft
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 3:29 pm

Craft no longer nervous about Sullinger

By Jeff Goodman

Last week, Aaron Craft was worried about Jared Sullinger.

"Just the way he was moving around," Ohio State's sophomore point guard said about his teammate. "I was nervous."

But Sullinger is making progress and is getting close to returning to the court.

"This week he's gotten a lot better," Craft said. "He's been happier, he's acting more like Jared."

Sullinger and his teammates got the day off Sunday following the team's loss at Kansas, one in which the big man sat out due to back spasms. He also sat out Monday and Craft said he was uncertain if -- and how much -- Sullinger would practice on Tuesday.

"We don't know yet," Craft said. "But he looks good running around."

Craft said he honestly didn't feel as though having Sullinger would have made the difference in the loss to Kansas. "Not with the way we played," Craft said. "We didn't have good focus defensively and didn't execute well."

That's all true. However, Sullinger helps in both areas. Boston College transfer Evan Ravenel and freshman Amir Williams combined to play 40 minutes against the Jayhawks and finished with a total of 11 points and eight rebounds.

Craft said he is still getting adjusted to being more of a focal point on this team, which is nine games into the season. He's averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals -- and has started to shoot the ball with more consistency from the perimeter over the last few games.

"My shot was really bad early," he admitted. "But it's coming around now."

-- Craft said that Kansas was the best opposing venue he's played in thus far in his career. That honor went to Purdue a year ago, when E'Twaun Moore lit up the Buckeyes.

-- Craft is also back on track in the classroom. After receiving his first B a year ago, he earned straight A's in his four classes this past quarter.

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: October 26, 2011 11:08 am

Aaron Craft looking to end Ohio State's drought

By Jeff Goodman

Aaron Craft makes no excuses. He didn't take chemistry as seriously as he should have.

He received a B-plus last fall.

It was the first time he had ever received anything of the non-A variety in school.


Craft has a 3.86 GPA and is looking to become the first Ohio State Academic All-American since way back in 1968 (Bill Hoskett).

Let's face it: There aren't many holes when it comes to Craft.

He's a big-time student who wants to major in pre-med, he's a terrific, unselfish point guard who is also a big-time defender and Thad Matta calls him the toughest kid he's ever coached.

"I think Coach was just being nice," Craft said of Matta's compliment.

But Ohio State video coordinator Greg Paulus, the former Duke point guard and Syracuse quarterback, also said Craft's work ethic is up there with anyone else he's seen.

"His commitment is up there with anyone I've ever played with," Paulus said.

Craft even recently - just for the heck of it - decided to observe the team doctor while he performed a shoulder scope and also an ACL surgery.

He said he was fine for the first half of the procedure, but then got woozy and had to leave the room as the doctor was pulling out a tendon.

"I got light-headed," Craft laughed. "I had to sit down and walk out of the room."

Then Craft returned to see the second tendon removed.

On the court, Craft knows he'll need to step up this season with the departure of Jon Diebler and David Lighty - especially in the leadership department. He also doesn't want defenders to go underneath screens, a sign of disrespecting his perimeter shot.

"Guys played off me," Craft admitted. "It'll help us as a team if they aren't able to do that this year."
Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:45 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 8:40 am

Goodman Preseason Tour: Thoughts from Ohio State

By Jeff Goodman

COLUMBUS, OHIO - Thad Matta says he's the toughest player he's ever had. That includes his time at Butler, Xavier and Ohio State.

Yet there was Aaron Craft, standing on the sidelines, sitting out practice on Monday after taking an elbow from Deshaun Thomas the previous day.

I'm just giving Craft some you-know-what because it was just ironic Craft missed the one Buckeyes practice I'll be at this preseason.

And even though walk-on point guard Alex Rogers was terrific, this is a completely different team without Craft.

I'll have more on him later this week, but there's just nothing that the unassuming sophomore point guard doesn't do on the court. He leads, makes his teammates better, can lock guys up and has also (reportedly) improved his perimeter shot. 

Anyway, here are my thoughts and observations following Ohio State's practice:

- I've already chronicled Sullinger's new look and how it'll benefit him this season.

Season tips Nov. 7
- Deshaun Thomas' body received a Sullinger-esque makeover. While the plan was for him to bulk up when he arrived on campus, that didn't work - and he lost about 10 pounds and is now able to do more than just shoot the ball (that's still his bread and butter). I'm not sure that Thomas isn't the key to this team, because Ohio State needs a big-time shooter to replace Jon Diebler - and Thomas is capable.

- Matta wants - and needs - William Buford to be more aggressive and get to the line with more frequency. He's the lone upperclassman who has played on this team and needs to become more assertive than he's been in the past.

- The most surprising performance came from Lenzelle Smith, a seldom-used guard a year ago who may just be the frontrunner to earn the fifth and final spot to start this season. The other four will almost certainly go to Sullinger, Buford, Craft and Thomas. However, Smith has shot it well, he's strong, athletic, plays with a motor and can defend. "I need him to be out Ronald Nored," Matta said. That's a high expectation, but Smith can be a quality glue guy who brings multiple assets to the table this year.

- Don't be shocked if Matta throws Craft and freshman point guard Shannon Scott out there together at times. They are both small floor leaders, but both shoot it well enough - and Craft is about as good of a defender as you'll find, so the Buckeyes could probably get away with it on the defensive end.

- Matta called freshman forward Sam Thompson the "most athletic player I've ever coached." It's easy to see why. He's a high-flyer, but his skill level is further along than many people gave him credit for. Plus, Thompson is a high IQ guy - so look for him to get playing time this season. "It's freakish," Matta said of Thompson's athletic ability.

- One of the new big men will need to step up to take the minutes vacated by veteran Dallas Lauderdale. The candidates: BC transfer Evan Ravenel and freshmen Amir Williams and Trey McDonald. Right now the minutes would go to Ravenel because of his experience, but the 6-foot-11 Williams could catch him - if he learns to play hard - later in the year. "I think Amir can help us rebound the ball and affecting shot around the basket," Matta said. "He's still learning."

- Sophomore J.D. Weatherspoon has the athletic ability, but will also need to play hard consistently to get in the rotation.

- Ohio State assistant Chris Jent is a huge addition to this coaching staff, replacing Brandon Miller - who left the business. Jent said he wouldn't have left the Cleveland Cavs if it wasn't for the combination of Matta and being at his alma mater. He also said it'll allow him to be a more well-rounded coach. "It's an opportunity to coach the other side of the ball," said Jent, who was coaching the defense with the Cavs.

- Diebler is now in Greece while David Lighty is playing in Italy.

- I hate to admit it, but Greg Paulus kicked my @#$ in ping pong. In fact, I may retire after my performance - which was just truly embarrassing. At least know we've found a sport than Paulus can actually play.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 5:14 pm

Goodman's Wooden Preseason Top 50

By Jeff Goodman

The deadline for submitting the list of 50 players for the John Wooden Preseason watch list was this afternoon.

My guess is that my colleague, Gary Parrish, missed it. I did not. 

Anyway, here's my list of 50.

Remember, transfers and freshman are not eligible, so that means that guys like frosh Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers - as well as transfer Arnett Moultrie - couldn't be included.

My Wooden Preseason Top 50

Tim Abromaitis, 6-8, PF, Sr., Notre Dame
Harrison Barnes, 6-8, SF, Soph., North Carolina
Will Barton, 6-6, SG, Soph., Memphis
Dee Bost, 6-2, PG, Sr., Mississippi State
William Buford, 6-5, SG, Sr., Ohio State
Kyle Casey, 6-7, SF, Jr., Harvard
Jason Clark, 6-2, G, Sr., Georgetown
Aaron Craft, 6-2, PG, Soph., Ohio State
Matthew Dellavedova, 6-4, G, Jr., Saint Mary's
Festus Ezeli, 6-11, C, Sr., Vanderbilt
Ashton Gibbs, 6-2, G, Sr., Pittsburgh
Mike Glover, 6-7, F, Sr., Iona
Drew Gordon, 6-9, PF, Sr., New Mexico
Draymond Green, 6-6, PF, Sr., Michigan State
JaMychal Green, 6-8, PF, Sr., Alabama
Jorge Gutierrez, 6-3, G, Sr., California
Tim Hardaway 6-5, SG, Jr., Soph., Michigan
Elias Harris, 6-7, F, Jr., Gonzaga
John Henson, 6-11, PF, Jr., North Carolina
Tu Holloway, 6-0, PG, Sr., Xavier
Robbie Hummel, 6-8, F, Sr., Purdue
Joe Jackson, 6-0, PG, Soph., Memphis
Scoop Jardine, 6-2, PG, Sr., Syracuse
John Jenkins, 6-4, SG, Jr., Vanderbilt
Orlando Johnson, 6-5, SG, Sr., UC Santa Barbara
Kevin Jones, 6-8, F, Sr., West Virginia
Perry Jones, 6-11, F, Soph., Baylor
Terrence Jones, 6-9, PF, Soph., Kentucky
Ryan Kelly, 6-10, F, Jr., Duke
Jeremy Lamb, 6-5, SG, Soph., UConn
Kendall Marshall, 6-4, PG, Soph., North Carolina
Trevor Mbakwe, 6-8, PF, Sr., Minnesota
Ray McCallum, 6-3, PG, Soph., Detroit
Rodney McGruder, 6-4, SG, Jr., Kansas State
Doug McDermott, 6-7, F, Soph., Creighton
Shabazz Napier, 6-1, PG, Soph., UConn
Reeves Nelson, 6-7, PF, Jr., UCLA
Andrew Nicholson, 6-10, PF, Sr., St. Bonaventure
Alex Oriakhi, 6-9, C, Jr., UConn
Thomas Robinson, 6-9, PF, Jr., Kansas
Terrence Ross, 6-6, SG, Soph., Washington
John Shurna, 6-9, F, Sr., Northwestern
Peyton Siva, 5-11, PG, Jr., Louisville
Josh Smith, 6-9, C, Soph., UCLA
Jared Sullinger, 6-9, PF/C, Soph., Ohio State
Jeffery Taylor, 6-7, SF, Sr., Vanderbilt
Jordan Taylor, 6-1, PG, Sr., Wisconsin
Maalik Wayns, 6-2, PG, Soph., Villanova
Patric Young, 6-9, C, Soph., Florida
Tyler Zeller, 7-0, C, Sr., North Carolina
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com