The evolution of Aaron Craft has been fairly profound.
He began as a freshman who gave Ohio State contagious energy and great defensive effort off the bench, morphed into a sophomore who became arguably the best defensive player in the country and a vocal leader on a Final Four team and was eventually more of an offensive threat as a junior with the same tenacious defense and leadership qualities.
As a senior, Craft will have to be Mr. Everything for a talented Buckeye squad that also has a number of question marks.
Craft will have to spearhead a defense that could be the difference between a Final Four contender and a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten squad, serve as the vocal leader and extension of Thad Matta on the floor and look to score much more than he has in the past.
That improved scoring touch was critical in Ohio State’s late-season turnaround (even if his shot disappeared against Wichita State) and eventual Big Ten Tournament championship. He eviscerated Michigan State and Indiana and showed the nation his clutch gene in the NCAA tournament with a buzzer-beating three.
Craft is the straw that stirs the drink in Columbus, and with no Deshaun Thomas, Jared Sullinger, David Lighty, Jon Diebler or any of the other talented teammates he has played with in the past, Craft must be the team’s MVP. With his track record, it would be an upset if he didn’t become just that.