One of the many pleasant surprises for this year’s Ohio State basketball team has been the play of Aaron Craft. Craft, a freshman, typically comes into the game about five minutes in to play the point. He brings the ball up, doesn’t seem to get rattled by pressure, can drive the lane and dish, and has made some great passes as the Buckeyes have moved into the Sweet Sixteen.
What really distinguishes Craft, however, is his defense. Although a few opponents have had great games against him, for the most part he has been a terrific defensive player. Opposing point guards seem to wear him like a shirt. He is always there, right in front of them, moving when they move and letting his lateral quickness get him to the spot before they do. It must be incredibly frustrating to be guarded by Aaron Craft.
Craft’s uncanny ability to seemingly always be in front of the opposing point guard reminds me of a classic episode from the original Star Trek TV series. The Enterprise is minding its own business, boldly going where no man has gone before, when suddenly a giant hand appears in front of the ship. The Enterprise tries to get away from it, but wherever it goes the hand is there, until finally the hand catches the ship and the crew learns that the hand belongs to Apollo. Mayhem ensues.
I imagine that the frustration felt by opposing points guards who have to deal with the pesky, ever-present Craft is similar to the frustration felt by Captain Kirk when he could not escape the giant hand of Apollo. I’m not suggesting that Aaron Craft wears a toga in his spare time or can hurl lightning bolts from his fingertips, of course.