College Basketball Insider

Craft locked up Burke and shut up a lot of people while doing it

INDIANAPOLIS -- Aaron Craft said all the right things.

That it doesn't matter.

That he doesn't listen to it.

That he just plays and doesn't worry about the growing sentiment from some so-called college basketball experts that Ohio State goofed by not taking Columbus native Trey Burke. But I didn't believe Craft because I just can't understand how that could possibly be true. So I went and asked Craft's teammate Deshaun Thomas about it. He leveled with me.


"Aaron watches film on every point guard, but he's more focused on Trey," Thomas said. "It motivates him."

Of course it does.

Because really, how could it not?

Imagine you're one of the best at what you do at the level you do it. Now imagine somebody else coming along who is really good at it, too. And imagine that that person happens to be from the town where you do your job. And imagine that person grew up wanting your job. And imagine people around the country -- even in your own town -- suggesting your employer was wrong to pass on that other person.

It would bother you, wouldn't it?

Again, how could it not?

That's pretty much what Craft's been dealing with the past month. Burke has developed into a star and brought into question Ohio State's decision to pass on the local kid who always wanted to be a Buckeye. Yes, timing played a role in that decision. But the presence of Craft, who is a year older than Burke, played a role, too. And it's a decision that was questioned even more than before when Burke got 17 points and hit a game-clinching runner in the final seconds of last month's 56-51 victory over the Buckeyes.

"Down in Ann Arbor, [Burke] put on a show," Thomas said. "Craft didn't like that."

Which brings me back to Saturday -- when Burke did not put on a show in Michigan's 77-55 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals here at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The freshman was just 1-of-11 from the field with eight turnovers. He missed all seven 3-pointers he attempted.

"We played great team defense," Craft said. "It wasn't all me."

Maybe not.

But a lot of it was.

Aaron Craft locked up Trey Burke on Saturday.

How many people do you think he shut up while doing it?

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