Craft, Smith give Ohio State senior support
by Rob McCurdy, USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith no longer enjoy the luxury of worrying about themselves. The two Ohio State guards can’t fixate on their respective games.
Selfishness yields to selflessness now. Such is the plight for the two seniors.
“Each year guys are trying to find themselves or want to contribute to the team and make the team better. This year it’s more about being a senior leader on the team. You do everything,” says Smith, a 6-4 shooting guard. “It’s not trying to figure out what you’re going to do. It’s knowing what you have to do, and you have to do those things from Day One, especially when you have guys looking up to you.”
For Ohio State, it’s a welcome change.
The Buckeyes went the last two years with one senior on those rosters — all-Big Ten guard William Buford two seasons ago and backup big man Evan Ravenel last year. Neither was known as a vocal leader.
“We’ve been through the battles. We’ve been in tough situations. We’ve won some big games. We’ve lost some games pretty big. We’ve seen both ends of the spectrum,” Craft, a 6-2 all-Big Ten point guard, says of the experience he and Smith bring.
The duo started at the Final Four two years ago. They’ve been part of two Big Ten championships and a pair of conference tournament titles. The two also know the frustration that comes from losing on the road last season by 19 at Illinois and 22 at Wisconsin. They understand the disappointment that comes from being upset in an NCAA tournament game when they were eliminated by Wichita State 70-66 in the West region final in March.
So if there was any void in that department the last couple of seasons, that shouldn’t be the case in this one.
“You have to lead guys,” Smith says. “As senior leaders, a lot of teammates will come to us. Being the older guys, you have to be the one who knows what to do.”
Turn back the clock
Craft says he and Smith learned from the best when it … [For more on Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith give Ohio State senior support, click here.]