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Ohio State guard Aaron Craft wins Roundball Daily.com Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award
- Updated: April 5, 2012
By: Kels Dayton
Of all of the awards we have just bestowed on some of the best collegiate basketball players in the nation, this is our favorite. The Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award was voted on in a survey of over 3,300 college basketball coaches and sports information directors from across Division 1. It is given to the player who most impacted his team’s performance this season, even if his play was not dramatically reflected in the box score.
Danny Abbott was the man. He was an unbelievable athlete, hilarious personality, and at times an unwitting pain in the neck. He could make you laugh for 4 hours straight by saying the same thing over and over. There was never a dull moment when you were around him. Danny’s spirit embodied perseverance, youthful exuberance, and an insatiable enthusiasm for life that touched everyone within 250 feet of him. Abbott died in 2001 at the age of 16, but he could not have left a more lasting memory had he lived 120 years.
With Danny’s spirit in mind, Roundball Daily.com is proud to announce that the winner of the inaugural Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award is Ohio State University point guard Aaron Craft.
Craft is the perfect candidate for what this award stands for. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game this season, but his impact on the Buckeyes could not be measured merely by those statistics.
The 6-2 sophomore was perhaps the nation’s best defensive point guard, hounding opponents with a non-stop, in-your-shorts relentlessness that embodies the passion Abbott had.
New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist John DeShazer described Craft as “the itch that can’t be scratched, the faucet with the never-ending drip, and the gnat that buzzes around your ear no matter how many times it’s the target of a swat.”
“He’s one of the best lead guards in the nation,” said Kansas head coach Bill Self.
Craft was possibly Ohio State’s most important player as he led the Buckeyes to a 31-8 record and an appearance in the Final Four. Perhaps most fitting is the fact that Aaron’s personality reflects Danny’s, as evidenced in this piece by Sports Illustrated. His father John Craft recalls Aaron playing in the driveway with former Ohio State guard Jon Diebler on the night before a big tournament in his freshman year of high school. (Diebler was getting ready to go off to Ohio State at the time).
“It was 2 a.m., and they were drenched in sweat, going at it as hard as they could go,” John Craft said. “I said Aaron, you’ve got to get up early tomorrow and play, and he said `I know, I’ll be ready.’ It reminded me of when he was in fourth or fifth grade – he was not going to back down, and he was out there trying to prove himself.”
“Both boys and my daughter just work relentlessly,” John Craft said. “If they had to sit out and not do something for two days, they would go stir crazy.”
Nothing could describe Abbott more accurately. And that’s one of the reasons that we at Roundball Daily.com are honored to present the Buckeye point guard with this award.
Craft garnered 39.3% of the vote, and edged out Purdue senior forward Robbie Hummel, who earned 33.5%. Louisville junior Peyton Siva picked up 15% of the vote, while Kansas junior guard Elijah Johnson came in at 5.3%.
Other top responses included Missouri senior guard Kim English, Long Beach State senior guard Casper Ware, Colorado State junior forward Pierce Hornung and Syracuse senior guard Scoop Jardine.
Congratulations to Aaron on an outstanding season and for winning the inagural Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award.
Danny would be proud, although he’d never stop talking about it.
Award voting was conducted and votes tabulated by email via www.surveymonkey.com.