By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
Aaron Craft moved to Europe in 2015 and has played both in the 7DAYS EuroCup and the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague as a member of AS Monaco, Buducnost VOLI, and his Trento. He is currently the top passer in the 7DAYS EuroCup with 8.2 assists per game, and also ranks first in steals with 2.8 per game.
You could argue that the 1991-born player is ready to take the next step and get his big break in the EuroLeague, but that’s not the case with Craft. As he announced to the Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera” a few weeks ago, he intends to retire after being accepted to the medical school at Ohio State University, his alma mater.
“The passion for medicine is something that I cultivated as a child, because I loved math and science,” Craft told Corriere della Sera. “Now it fascinates me that it requires combining talent and dedication. At the end of my life, I want to be more than a player who has chased a ball. My goal is to help others and serve the society in which I live. There are different ways to do it, of course, but the path of medicine is the one that suits me best and can offer me the opportunity to live an existence that is not only focused on myself.”
This was not a secret. Craft had already announced his intention to the club, which is currently in the mix for a spot in the Top16, having posted a 3-3 record in Group D. After a coaching change this summer, it was only natural for Trento to keep Craft, who was a member of the team that reached the Italian league finals for the first time in the history of the club three years ago, at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Coach Maurizio Buscaglia, who spend almost a decade with the team, was replaced this summer by 39-year-old Nicola Brienza, and having a floor general like Craft on the court was a must.
So far, Craft has dished 9 or more assists in four out of Trento’s six EuroCup games this season. On two occasions, against Asseco Arka Gdynia and Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul, he had 10 and 11 assists, respectively. And he averages almost 31 minutes on the court on every game.
The way that he makes things happen for his team, Craft’s game might be called surgical, too, as he carves up opposing defenses with his passes. His presence is more than crucial for the Italian team, and he will be more than missed after this summer.
Craft’s decision to retire is final, and even if he is producing some of his best basketball yet, there’s no indication that he will change his plans.
However, it’s obvious that he is enjoying himself and he doesn’t want to go out without a bang. That’s why you should keep an eye on Trento this year. Craft seems determined to make his last professional basketball season a memorable one.