Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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Growing up with the values that I have, there is no doubt that they have made me the man I am today. Due to that "never give up" mentality that was instilled in me at a young age, one of my favorite children's stories was The Little Engine That Could. No matter the obstacle or limitations that presented that little engine, he always found a way to keep chugging along. That little engine reminds me a lot of former Ohio State point guard, Aaron Craft, who besides the constant criticism from the "experts" has finally accomplished his dream and proven all of the doubters wrong.
After spending all summer with the Golden State Warriors Summer League team and vying for a roster spot, the Warriors announced on Tuesday that they had signed the undrafted Buckeye to a one-year NBA contract. We all know that a one-year contract doesn't really guarantee much of a future, but for a guy like Craft who has fought his entire way to get here, a one-year shot is all he needs.
During his freshman year at Ohio State, Craft essentially took college basketball by storm. He wasn’t much of a scoring threat, but the rosey-red cheeked assassin from Findlay used his defensive ability and maximum hustle to earn his shot with the Buckeyes. Over his career at Ohio State, Craft cracked the Big Ten All-Defensive Team in each of his four seasons, but no matter how much practice he put in, Craft was always ridiculed for never becoming a consistent shooting threat. That flaw followed Craft all the way to the NBA Draft when his name wasn’t announced and we all thought that his career was over, until he got one more shot.
Craft received NBA Summer League time with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Golden State Warriors, but really stuck with the Northern California crew. New Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, fell in love with Craft’s passion and determination for the game and that is exactly what he needed. Kerr, who was known for his perimeter skills in the NBA, was never the most athletic or strongest player coming up through the ranks so he had to fight tooth and nail to earn his keep, just like Craft. I don’t know if Craft could’ve landed with a better coach who was more willing to give him the opportunity he deserved.
We all know, even Buckeye fans, that Craft is not the most agile, skilled, strongest, athletic or even most talented basketball player on the court. He only averaged 8.9 points, 4.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals during his college career, but the one thing he had the most of is something you can’t find on a stat sheet and that is heart. Kerr and the Warriors didn’t care about Craft’s stats; all they gave a damn about was the miles and miles of heart that Craft has exemplified from his time at Liberty Benton to Ohio State and now with the National Basketball Association.
On behalf of ‘Our Sports Report’, I would like to congratulate Aaron Craft on finally becoming a player in the NBA and for tearing down just one more obstacle that has stood in his way. Craft has shown us that you don’t always have to be the most talented, but if you keep chugging along, you will always earn your shot and anything is possible.