Craft Ready To Be His Own Man

After watching his team play without a true point guard last season, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta made the position one of emphasis for the class of 2010. Matta got his man in Aaron Craft, who tells that he is hoping to carve his own niche when he gets to Columbus.

With his verbal commitment to Ohio State, Aaron Craft hopes to give the Buckeyes what they have been lacking since Jamar Butler's graduation: a true point guard.

Just don't try to compare him to Butler, the school's all-time leader in assists and 3-pointers. Or Mike Conley, the ballhandler whose one year at the helm ended with an OSU-record 238 assists.

Instead, the Findlay (Ohio) Liberty-Benton standout is preparing to take hold of the reins for the OSU offense while carving out a niche as his own player.

"I don't think I'm going to be as big of a scorer the first few years as Jamar Butler was," Craft told "Michael Conley, he's one of a kind so you can't really compare yourself to him. I think I'm going to be my own point guard but learn from past point guards as well."

The fact that Craft is a verbal member of the class of 2010 owes to a little bit of luck and a little bit of being in the right place at the right time. Initially a verbal commitment to Tennessee, Craft decided that he wanted to play closer to home and decided to re-open his recruitment.

A number of schools within the desired three-hour radius from his home started calling, but only one of them was quick to offer him a scholarship: Ohio State. For that, Craft has the fact that he is AAU teammates with fellow verbal commitments Jared Sullinger and Jordan Sibert to thank.

"Last year at the Super Showcase at our nationals down in Orlando, (OSU head) coach (Thad) Matta watched us," Craft said. "If we played 15 games, he probably watched 10 of them. He had already watched me play and he's real good friends with my AAU coach and my AAU coach has helped me out greatly. He probably talked to him as well."

So while the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan, Butler, Miami (Ohio), Dayton and Marquette started showing interest, the Buckeyes already had a leg up on the competition.

On June 7, craft pulled the trigger and became the fifth member of OSU's class of 2010. He fills a glaring need at point guard and is ranked as the No. 13 player at his position by

Craft is not the only point guard in the class, however. The Buckeyes have a verbal commitment from Zion (Ill.) Benton Township's Lenzelle Smith, but Craft said that Smith was excited about him joining the class.

"We talked and he's really cool," Craft said. "He's fun to talk to and he's down to earth and we can connect. He didn't mind it at all. This is the first year at AAU that he's played point. He didn't mind at all. He's just glad that the recruiting class got a little better."

Although a few weeks have passed since Craft's decision, the 6-1, 170-pounder said he still gets stopped when he goes out in public.

"A lot of people have stopped and been like, ‘We're really glad you're staying in Ohio. Now we can watch you more' and things like that," he said. "That's happened quite a few times when I go out maybe to a pool or just walking around, maybe going to watch my sister play basketball. There's a pretty big buzz around Findlay right now."

Those feelings have helped to assure Craft that he has made the right decision. In addition, his parents and grandparents will be able to see all his games, he said.

Now he can focus on his final year of prep ball before becoming what the OSU coaches are hoping will be their point guard of the future.

"That's the plan they have right now," he said. "Nothing is guaranteed and I have to work for everything I'm going to earn, but the plan is to go in there and I don't have to be a big scorer, just take care of the ball, not turn it over and get our guys in positions where our playmakers can score."

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