April 3, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio–The National Association of Basketball Coaches has named Ohio State’s Aaron Craft as the 2014 National Defensive Player of the Year in Division I. The organization made the announcement Thursday.
Craft is the second Ohio State player to be recognized nationally for this award. Greg Oden earned the accolade following the 2006-07 season.
Craft ended his career as both the Ohio State and Big Ten’s all-time leader in steals with 337. He owns four of the Top 6 Ohio State single season steals records as well, including the Top 2 spots. His 98 thefts as a sophomore is the Ohio State single-season record and his 89 steals this year rates No. 2 all-time.
Nationally, Craft finished in the No. 4 spot in total steals as a senior and was No. 7 in steals per game (2.54).
The Big Ten coaches selected Craft as the 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, an honor he also earned in 2012. As a member of the 2014 All-Big Ten Defensive team, Craft is just the second Big Ten student-athlete to earn a spot on the team four times.
Over four seasons, Craft was credited with six or more steals in a single game nine times, including a career-high seven steals vs. Iowa as a freshman and against American as a senior.
The NABC honor has been awarded since 1987. Craft is just the third point guard to garner the honor in the history of the award. Tommy Amaker, the former Duke point guard and current head coach at Harvard, claimed the first award in 1987. John Linehan of Providence is the most recent point guard to earn the honor. He did so in 2002.
Ohio State is one of just five schools nationally to have multiple honorees and the only Big Ten program with more than one.
“The NABC National Defensive Player of the Year award culminates one of the most extraordinary careers I’ve experienced in all my years associated the college basketball,” Thad Matta, head coach of the Buckeyes said. “From the first practice through his final game, Aaron Craft utilized every ounce of his ability on the basketball court, particularly on the defensive end. Aaron and his family certainly deserve this recognition.”