Summer 2024

Former Ohio State basketball star Aaron Craft shares faith as he rides out coronavirus in Italy

People are looking for hope in a lot of places amid the coronavirus outbreak. Former Ohio State basketball player Aaron Craft offered that to his social media followers this week.

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With his season on hold along with the rest of the sports world due to the outbreak, Craft updated fans about the situation in Italy, where he’s now playing professionally and where death tolls have surpassed 2,500.

“Over the last few weeks it’s progressively gotten worse,” Craft said in a video posted to Twitter. “It all started with postponing games for a couple days and then they eventually just postponed them until at least April 3. Next, they canceled all team events and practices for at least 14 days. And finally, the government issued a nationwide lockdown here in Italy, which closed down all non-essential businesses and buildings. The only places that are open right now are grocery stores and pharmacies for limited hours.”

Craft, who played for Ohio State from 2010-2014, now plays for Aquila Basket Trento, and lives in Trento, Italy, with his wife and son. Trento is in northern Italy, a little less than three hours from what Craft described as the “epicenter” of the outbreak.

He’s planning on this being his final season of basketball, and it looks like he’ll miss out on his final 11 games. Nonetheless, he’s says he’s content if it’s all over suddenly because he knows where his identity comes from.

“But, it’s time like this I’m so glad that my hope, my identity, and my value is not based on my basketball skill, the last game I played, or a future performance,” he said. “And I’m so grateful that God assigns me my value, my identity, and gives me hope through His Son, Jesus, and it’s not based on anything that I do.

“I pray that you have this hope, too. Let’s all stay safe and let’s get through this together.”

There’s a strict ban in place for non-essential travel in Italy, but Craft said his family is doing fine. And while there have been some moments of panic, they plan on riding it out and obeying the laws and restrictions that are in place.

“We’re able to go outside and walk and have a good time there,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to the family time we can have over these next 14 days, and we’re also very, very happy about the precautions that are in place. The adherence to those by all those around us, they’re helping to keep all of us safe.”

Craft also sympathized with all the athletes affected by the cancellations or postponements, particularly those whose careers were abruptly cut short without getting a chance to properly soak in the moment. He’s in a similar situation.

If it is the end, it marks the close to a successful career for Craft. While at Ohio State, he was named the 2014 NABC Defensive Player of the Year, the 2013 Big Ten Tournament MVP and a second-team All-Big Ten selection that year, and he was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and 2014, among many other awards.

Professionally, Craft went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft but played with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s G League team, and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 before heading overseas to play.

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