When the 2014 NBA Draft concluded, and his name hadn’t been called, Aaron Craft was unfazed.
Like the majority of his career at Ohio State, Craft dusted himself off and began to move forward.
Despite going undrafted in June, Craft was invited to play with the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors during the NBA summer league before being officially signed by the Warriors last week.
For most, receiving an offer from an NBA team would be cause for celebration. For Craft, it led to a deep breath before getting back to work.
“It wasn’t anything super crazy. There’s definitely a little bit of relief once we actually figured out it was happening for sure,” Craft said in an interview with The Lantern. “(I was) just kind of enjoying being at home as much as possible and then once you kind of figure it out, then you go back into work mode and try to figure out what we have to do to prepare ourselves to be ready for it.”
Craft said despite not being selected in the draft, he never gave up hope of making an NBA roster.
“Obviously you always want to hear your name called. Everyone takes a different path, everyone has to go their own way and this has been my path,” Craft said. “We are trying to live it out as much as possible and do it that way.”
“We” likely referring to he and his wife Amber, Craft said the newlywed couple is trying to get its bearings of the new surroundings in California.
“All the little things you have to deal with — not knowing the area and not knowing a good place to go eat, a lot of things are just kind of restarting,” he said. “We are figuring it out day-by-day and the people in the Warriors organization have been great.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Craft’s sister Cait, a junior guard on the women’s basketball team at OSU, is learning to deal with life without her older brother on campus.
“I can’t speak for him, but for me it is very difficult. I used to see him all the time, when he went here obviously we would be in the gym a lot together. So it is really awkward for me,” Cait Craft said in an interview with The Lantern. “It is so different because I remember when Aaron first left for college, I was so lost.
“I am experiencing that again (and) it’s just so different. But I know he is busy, he is out there doing what he can, but we do stay in touch.”
Cait Craft could have potentially been even farther away from her brother, as Aaron Craft said he would have at least entertained the idea of playing overseas had the Warriors not come calling.
“If the right opportunity would have arose, I think we would definitely have done that but you just roll with the punches,” he said. “You play the waiting game, and for me, this seemed like the best opportunity and (the) chance was right here and it just happened to be in California.”
Cait Craft said it was a different experience seeing her brother play against other NBA competition during the summer league.
“To think that Aaron (was) playing in the NBA summer league (was) just kind of a surreal feeling. I just told him ‘do what you can do and be yourself.’ He pretty much did that all summer, he stayed within his abilities and it all worked out for him,” she said.
Aaron Craft must have listened, as he led the Warriors’ summer league team in assists (2.4) and steals (2.6), something he did during his senior year at OSU as well.
Aaron Craft, who also averaged 7.4 points per game with 45.5 field goal percentage during the summer league with the Warriors said he isn’t sure what to expect going into his first NBA season.
“It is definitely going to be different. You look at the schedule and you know it is going to be a grind,” he said. “Just looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity and hopefully we can attack it like we have everything else.”
Aaron Craft’s NBA journey is set to begin Oct. 7 at the Staples Center against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.