Craft Career Countdown Is Underway

There may not be a more polarizing prospect in next week's NBA Draft than Aaron Craft. Will the former Ohio State guard be taken with one of the 60 picks in the annual selection show? Or is he headed to medical school to pursue a different professional path?

For a typical NBA Draft prospect, next week's annual selection show usually has two outcomes; getting drafted and making your way onto an NBA roster or embarking on a professional basketball career overseas.

Only Aaron Craft has never been described as typical.

For the former Ohio State guard, going undrafted during next Thursday's draft could very well mean the end of his pursuit of a professional basketball career. Sure, there's always the small chance that a summer league performance or strong training camp showing could land him on an NBA roster as an undrafted free agent. But in all likelihood not being picked would send Craft packing not for Europe, but medical school, after the Findlay, Ohio native obtained a degree in nutrition from Ohio State in May.

Which all the more reason why these last three months have been so important for Craft's first choice of a professional pursuit. From the NBA Draft Combine to individual and group workouts with teams, the reigning National Defensive Player of the Year has done his best to showcase his strengths while answering questions about his weaknesses.

"It's just about being myself," Craft said following a recent workout with the Utah Jazz. "Not getting caught up in a ton of stuff about the things I don't do well. It's about being myself because that's where I'm going to be the biggest asset. I come out and try to do everything I can and enjoy it."

At times this spring, that has been tough for the 6-2, 195-pound Craft, with most workouts focused on the offensive end of the floor. It's no secret that Craft struggled with finding consistency with his shot throughout his college career as evidenced by his senior season's .473 shooting percentage and 9.8 points per game scoring average.

Craft, however, doesn't seem too concerned with his defense getting lost in the shuffle during his recent countrywide tour of NBA franchises. Thanks to the national exposure he received in college, he hopes that it's no secret what he can bring to the table for a team.

"The best part about being at Ohio State is how often we played on TV and being in the spotlight," Craft said. "That's not something that (teams) are extremely worried about, but it's something that I want to continue to show.

Whether or not that will be enough for a team to use one of its picks on Craft next Thursday or not remains to be seen, but right now the projections don't favor the Big Ten's all-time leader in steals. As it currently stands, neither DraftExpress.com nor NBADraft.net project Craft to be taken and ESPN.com's Chad Ford placed him as the 64th overall prospect in his most recent rankings.

That will only add an increased emphasis to Craft's final week or workouts, starting with today's trip to the Toronto Raptors and followed by a Sunday visit with the Memphis Grizzlies and a Monday workout with the Boston Celtics. These could all play parts in answering whether Craft will be on the court or in the classroom this fall -- something that he's even unsure of at this point.

"I wish I knew," Craft said. "I'm just going to enjoy the ride as much as possible and see where it takes us."


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