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Cait Craft plays toward personal goals after brother Aaron Craft’s graduation

OSU junior guard Cait Craft (13) plays defense during a game against Indiana Feb. 8 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 78-70.  Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

OSU junior guard Cait Craft (13) plays defense during a game against Indiana Feb. 8 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 78-70.
Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Aaron Craft was a star guard at Ohio State for four years before pursuing a career in professional basketball with the Santa Cruz Warriors. Cait Craft said she would follow the same path in a heartbeat.

“This has been my one love since I’ve been little and I can’t imagine life without it,” the OSU junior guard said of her basketball career. “When you only have so many years to do it, and the opportunity presents itself, I would absolutely do that because you can always do everything else later in life but you can only have basketball for so long.”

Off the court, she studies nutrition and said she plans to attend graduate school for nursing.

Cait Craft, who averages 7.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game for the OSU women’s basketball team, credits her drive to her brothers, Aaron and Brandon Craft, and her parents, who she said have helped to make her success possible.

“I definitely think the biggest thing I got from my brothers, Brandon and Aaron, is my toughness factor because I get thrown around a lot of games,” Cait Craft said. “Just everything was a competition when we grew up, from who could eat something the fastest, to who could throw the farthest, who could hit the hardest or who could make the most shots, everything was a competition. So that has helped me on the court with my drive and competitiveness.”

While Cait Craft has competed with her family for years, its the competition on the court at OSU that continues to drive her.

Cait Craft said she and fellow junior guard Ameryst Alston have set a goal for the team as the women’s senior year approaches: To win the Big Ten tournament and to be a part of the NCAA tournament.

“Ameryst and I have talked a lot and we haven’t been to the tournament yet,” Cait Craft said. “That’s something we want to do before we leave here. We know that this is a building process and there’s going to be frustrations and struggles, but we want to make it special for the young girls so they can experience it and hopefully lead their future teams to accomplish the same things.”

Alston said she’s particularly proud of Cait Craft this season.

“She does a lot of our dirty work,” Alston said. “She’s a 5-foot guard that plays the four position and bangs down there with the posts defensively, I definitely give credit to her ‘cause she works so hard.”

While she does have support from her teammates, Cait Craft said she comes back to her family’s support, having entering the university as a full-time student athlete.

“I’m very blessed to be very close to both of my brothers, especially Aaron, who has helped me,” she said. “When I first got here and was going through some struggles that he had already been through, he was there to talk to me and tell me how he got through it and gave me advice that really helped.”

Cait Craft said if it wasn’t for her and Aaron Craft’s close relationship and the amount of support she receives from him, she would feel much more pressured to live up to her brother’s reputation.

“I haven’t adjusted that well with Aaron graduated, I’ll be the first to admit,” she said. “He’s all for me making my own name and leaving my own legacy so it’s definitely like I don’t feel that way and I’m glad that I don’t have to.”

The siblings’ mother, Wendy Craft, said while her children have a close relationship, she thinks Cait Craft has her own goals.

“Cait really enjoyed her time on campus with Aaron and having that shared bond of basketball, but I believe she prefers blazing her own trail rather than following in her brother’s footsteps,” Wendy Craft said. “Cait is very much her own person.”

While Cait Craft plans to leave her own legacy on the court, she said she hopes to leave a mark on the university that’s similar to the one Aaron Craft left by being a positive role model for younger kids.

“He’s one of the best people that I know on and off the court,” Cait said. “Aside from basketball, he’s one of the better people in my life. I hope that when I leave here, people can say the same thing about me, that I’m much more than basketball and I’m a person, too, that is a role model and shows kids good examples to follow and good things to do.”

Cait Craft gave advice for high school basketball players who one day hope to become collegiate athletes.

“Never forget why you started playing,” Cait Craft said. “You’re here to represent someone bigger than yourself, so it’s easy to lose sight of why you started playing, and I started playing when I was younger because I loved it and I had fun doing it.”

Cait Craft and her Buckeye teammates are scheduled to take on Michigan on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.

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