The Locker Room

How to Craft a Reputation

Posted by Lori Schmidt March 28, 2013 0 Comments
High ContrastNormal Version

It’s a funny world, isn’t it?

We say we value hard work, but it’s the guy who makes things look easy we want to hang out with. We claim to prize passion, but it’s the guy who doesn’t give a flying fig newton we regard as cool. We celebrate the smart, but simultaneously chuckle at the nerds. We may laud the man who keeps his standards sky-high, but we love the man who’s down to earth.

No wonder, then, that Aaron Craft has befuddled both those seeking to explain his appeal, and those trying to give voice to their disdain for the Ohio State point guard.

It’s the double standards! Our insistence that you should strive, struggle and sweat…just make it look effortless, ok?

Craft gives fans muscle cramps just watching how long he stays in a defensive stance.

It’s our demand that you have drive and dedication…just don’t overdo it, right?

Craft throws himself over fans in the front row on the off-chance he could save the ball from going out of bounds.

It’s our expectation that you bury yourself in the books…just don’t be the one to ruin the curve, understand?

Craft is a nutrition/pre-med major with a 3.9 GPA, who studied for an organic chemistry test shortly after making the game-winning shot against Iowa State.

More than anything, though, it’s our deeply felt conviction that you should be good…just don’t come across as too good to be true.

And if the expression “too good to be true” came wrapped in flesh, these days he’d be wearing Scarlet and Gray, with a mouth guard tucked up over his ear.

Not that Craft doesn’t understand the effect he has.

“I know there’s probably a couple of people you could talk to back home that would say I’m pretty annoying outside of the basketball floor,” he admitted.

As for on the basketball floor? Fortunately for Buckeye fans, Craft sees being “annoying” as his duty.

“The way I play, I hope that’s the way I’m kind of viewed,” he said. “They can think as badly as they want about me, as long as they’re not thinking about what they should be doing.”

In fact, when he was the only current student-athlete to be selected for the Grantland.com field of “most hated college basketball players,” Craft joked that he wanted to win that distinction as well. (Spoiler alert: There was just no stopping Christian Laettner.)

Though he came up short in the Grantland bracket, it is clear that Craft is a polarizing figure. Again, Craft sees this as his job, and it’s one he does well.

Whether that says more about him or us is a question worthy of debate.