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2013-2014 Ohio State Season Recap - Not The Ending Aaron Craft Wanted

Early tournament exit for Buckeye's is countered with a bright future

Jared Wickerham

Recap: The Ohio State Buckeye season in a nutshell could be summed up the same way you describe their star player Aaron Craft as a basketball player: exceptional defensively and sporadic on offense. Once again Thad Matta's team was one of the more dominant all around defensive teams in the country. The Buckeyes were in the top 50 in the country in steals and blocks per game and posted the 12th best ranking in the country for points allowed per game. If the Buckeye's offense could score 60 points every night the Buckeye's would have been undefeated according to the numbers. The issue is that offense, ever since the departure of Deshaun Thomas, has struggled to get consistent buckets. LaQuinton Ross has already declared for the NBA following his junior campaign this season but he had an up and down season and didn't really take the leap to be an elite player in the Big Ten. If Aaron Craft wasn't one of the best leaders in the country and didn't will this team out of their dreadful start to conference play, who knows how bad this season could have gotten. With that loss to Dayton, we witnessed the end of college basketball's version of a Tim Tebow's career come to end. Every Big Ten fan will tell you about the decade it seemed that Aaron Craft was a Buckeye, but if they're honest and objective the annoyance really comes from how good Craft was in his time in Columbus. In the one and done era and the NBA's obsession over athleticism and the necessity for everyone to be able to score, it's refreshing to witness an athlete fulfill the true intentions behind the term student-athlete.

Key Moments: There were certainly a multitude of good moments in an up and down season for the Buckeye's. They won back-to-back games in February over eventual Final Four team Wisconsin in Madison and followed that up by defeating Iowa in Iowa City. Ohio State also ended the regular season with a huge win in East Lansing over theMichigan State Spartans. They carried that momentum into the Big Ten Tournament and won two games before Michigan bounced them in the semi-final. Apparently the hangover was pretty rough because this season ended against in state underdog Dayton. Surely an article headline at Dayton the next day reading "The Dayton University", clearly mocking the famed Ohio State phrase, was not the note this team wanted to exit on.

The Future: The good news for Buckeye fans is the cupboard is not bare. Thad Matta can coach and the recruiting class coming in is impressive highlighted the 13th ranked player by ESPN in the country, D"Angelo Russell. Russell is joined by two fellow five star recruits in small forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Jae'Sean Tate, the 6th and 8th ranked small forwards in the country respectively. Pair those three with three returning senior starters in Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson and Amir Williams and you have a formidable Buckeye squad next season. Russell will be the key. If he provides the scoring punch this team has lacked then early Big Ten favorites Michigan and Wisconsin could be in a run for their money.