Aaron Craft: A Look at Ohio State's New Favorite Point Guard

Martha CoppCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2011

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 25:  Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats in action against Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the east regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Prudential Center on March 25, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Aaron Craft, Ohio State's freshman point guard, is turning heads.

Craft hails from Liberty-Benton High School in Findlay, Ohio, where he was the high school quarterback, the valedictorian and the president of the National Honor Society.

Needless to say, he's the whole package.

“We talked Sunday as a staff. If we didn’t have Aaron Craft, what a different basketball team we would be. We would be playing a completely different way; his impact has been big for us,” Coach Thad Matta stated at a January press conference.

Though Craft only averages 6.9 points per game, his talent lies in being an exceptional, traditional point guard. He totaled 177 assists and 73 steals for this season, including a freshman game record of seven steals versus Iowa.

"It's more on what the defense is doing. I can't just be out there as a passer. The guys have confidence in me," Craft said after a game against Penn State.

He's exciting to watch. He hustles for every play. Earlier this month, fans watched as Craft hustled down the court to grab the ball. His efforts were commended as he won the coveted Sixth Man Award and a spot on the Big Ten coaches' freshman team.

In addition, his basketball I.Q. is extraordinary.

Coach Matta takes advantage of this, allowing Craft to scout the opposition during the first few minutes of each game. He always checks in during the first timeout. While he plays almost all game, every game, he has only actually started once.

In most postgame press conferences, Coach Matta is asked about particular stats from the game.

"I'm not sure, but I bet Aaron knows. He always knows," Matta said to me. The other players all nod in agreement.

Since Craft is so skilled defensively, he usually guards some of the best players in the conference.

For example, Craft held Penn State's Talor Battle to just 15 points that night. Battle usually averages 27 points per game.

Oversized and outmatched, Craft played defense to perfection.

"Against a guy like that, having Aaron on him gives us a lot of confidence," Coach Matta told me at the media press conference after the game.

"Aaron was special tonight. He was effective on both sides of the ball today and did not play like a freshman despite the big game."

Even though this is only his first year, Craft is already gaining notoriety. His famous karaoke performance on YouTube has gained over 500,000 viewers.

In the video, Craft sings "Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus.

His lack of singing ability is alarming, but he seems to take the jesting in stride.

In addition, the Buckeye family have been comparing Craft's face to another celebrity—film actor Shia Labeouf.

Jeff Boals, assistant basketball coach, tweeted a picture of Craft and Labeouf with the message "Lookalike or No?"

Amazing basketball player. Terrible singer. Celebrity lookalike.

One way or another, this kid is going to be famous.