If you want to forecast how the professional basketball career of over-publicized, former Ohio State guard Aaron Craft, then look at the pro career of once over-publicized, former Notre Dame guard Ben Hanbrough.
If SIU is “Floor burn U,” then Ben Hansbrough was “Captain Floor Burn.” During his college basketball career, he was even grindier than his brother Tyler Hansbrough. Ben didn’t make any preseason Big East all-conference teams, but yet he was the 2010-11 BE POY. Ben Hansbrough and Aaron Craft aren’t that similar of players, but they do have some similarities; most importantly the bottom line of what their NBA future holds.
Like Hansbrough, Craft doesn’t truly fit at the next level at either guard position. Neither has the ability to run the point or play off the ball in the league. Craft brings the pain defensively, but he’s not anything substantial at the other end of the floor. Ben Hansbrough was known for his three-point shot. In 2011 he was one of the deadliest shooters in the country, but he was not a more complete player by any means either. He couldn’t defend NBA guards, so like Craft one end of the floor was a liability.
Ben went undrafted, and signed with Bayern Munich in Germany. He didn’t get any playing time there and then found his way to Slovenia. Then he played a little for the Indiana Pacers summer league, and despite his brother pulling some strings for him to get Ben Hansbrough in the organization, he was cut at Pacers training camp.
“Ben was born with a chip on his shoulder,” ND Coach Mike Brey glowingly said after Hansbrough’s senior night.
Aaron Craft was invited to the combine, and that does say something about his pro potential. But several players invited to the combine go undrafted and fail to catch on in the league every year. In fact, three of the last four combine invites from the Illinois Fighting Illini: Demetri McCamey, Jereme Richmond and Brandon Paul went un-selected and did not play a minute in the NBA.
And of course, there is one similarity between Aaron Craft and Ben Hansbrough that I forgot to touch on:
“I know people look at us and don’t take us seriously because we’re white,” Hansbrough said about his ND team his senior year. Well, yeah some people out there do think that way about Craft, and once thought that way about Hansbrough. But if you can’t play at the next level, you can’t play, regardless of color. It’s because they’re white that both players got so much media coverage and therefore, hype. And Craft won’t live up to the hype.
Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also a frequent guest on national talk radio. Banks, a former contributor to NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, has been featured in numerous outlets including NFL.com, Forbes and the History Channel. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)