COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State senior point guard Aaron Craft plays his final home game as a Buckeye on Sunday, which means that there's been an uptick on the word "legacy" around Columbus in the last week.
Humbled Craft Sees Himself As 'Small Part' of Team
By Tony Gerdeman
Head coach Thad Matta has said in the past that there should be a statue of Craft erected outside of the Schottenstein Center one day, which tells you exactly how Matta feels about his point guard and the legacy that he will soon leave behind.
But how does Craft feel about his own legacy?
"I don't know," he said on Friday.
Photo by Dan Harker
"I've been asked this before and I don't feel comfortable putting myself in close to the same categories as guys that have come before. Even guys like Dave (Lighty) that I've played with, I don't view myself as the same level or type of player that he was.
"You come back and you have Mike (Conley) and Greg (Oden) and Terence Dials and Scoonie Penn who come back and play in the summer, and just to see what they did for the university. I'm just very honored and humbled to continue on with what they've established here and to play a very small part in that."
Craft may be humbled, but his humility borders on delusional. While maybe in the overall picture of Ohio State basketball history, he would be considered "a very small part", because his part is only four years old. That's simple math. But when it comes to Aaron Craft, we're not talking math, we're talking history.
Sometimes a player comes along who leaves a mark that sticks long after he is gone. Craft's last game as a Buckeye won't be the last time his name is mentioned during a broadcast. It won't be the last time a fan sees a diving save attempt and be reminded of Craft's patented face-first effort.
It won't be the last time Thad Matta grabs a player during a timeout and says, 'Do it more like Aaron did it.'
"I've just tried to do my best to enjoy the time that I've had to play," he said of his style of play.
"Ever since I was little it was just trying to find a way to be a small part of the team, and it's continued and it's worked out pretty well."
His energy, his routine feats, his fearless effort, this is his recipe for being a small part of the team, and yet they are the very reason why he is seen as anything but.
If that is being a small part of a team, then every team could stand to be a little smaller.
It says a lot about a player when they are remembered more for the style of their play than their actual plays, but Craft still has plenty of individual moments to be remembered for. Whether that's a game-winner in the NCAA Tournament, or yet another record set at Ohio State or in the Big Ten.
This does not describe a "small part" of any team, let alone a storied program like Ohio State.
Yes, Aaron Craft is just one Buckeye littered among dozens to have had great moments in their time at OSU, but he is everything that a university or fanbase could hope to have when it comes to a student-athlete representing their program.
That's just one of the reasons why Thad Matta thinks Craft deserves a statue. And if that statue ever did come to be, what would Aaron Craft want the inscription to read?
"'Why did they waste their money?'" he laughed.
Doing the little things doesn't make one a "small part" of a team, it makes that person the glue of a team. That is so much of what Craft has done as a Buckeye, and that's what has led to so much of Ohio State's success in his time.
Craft wants to be remembered for the success that the Buckeyes had while he was part of the team, and he will be. But it's the way he played in those wins that people will never forget. That is Aaron Craft's legacy, and it is undeniable.
Even if Craft himself tries to deny it.
"Legacy and all of that stuff, it's not about me, it's about this University and the things that we've been able to do as a team," he said.
"Whether it's putting a year up on the banners in the gym or things like that, that's what's going to be remembered and that's what should be remembered."
Spoken exactly like somebody who should never be forgotten.
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