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Aaron Craft Awarded 2014 Big Ten Medal of Honor

OSU senior Aaron Craft wins one of the Big Ten's most prestigious awards.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten released a statement today awarded Aaron Craft and Allison Elber the Big Ten Medal of Honor. This is one of the most honored awards in the conference and a big one for Craft and the OSU basketball program. Craft leaves OSU as one of the program's most beloved basketball players.

Here is the Big Ten's release:

Rosemont, Ill. - As the Big Ten continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Ohio State announced that Allison Elber from the rowing team and Aaron Craft from the men's basketball team captured the prestigious awards at the 47th-annual Ohio State Scholar-Athlete Dinner Monday in the Archie M. Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union. At the event, 511 Ohio State Scholar-Athletes were recognized and a number of senior awards were given out.

The Big Ten, the nation's oldest collegiate conference, commemorates the 100th anniversary of a very unique tradition - the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference's most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." Big Ten schools currently feature more than 8,200 student-athletes, but only 24 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 99 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.

The finalists for the Big Ten Medal of Honor were Chelsea Aton (synchronized swimming), Alexandra Norris (swimming), Berta-Naoko Queralt O'Callaghan (field hockey) and Melanie Shaffer (Gymnastics) on the women's side, while the male candidates were Peter Kobelt (tennis), Michael Newburger (gymnastics), Logan Schuss (lacrosse) and Korbin Smith (track and field).

Craft will leave Ohio State as one of the most successful student-athletes of all-time in men's basketball. The Findlay, Ohio, native completed a decorated career with 119 wins, an average of nearly 30 victories per year. He, along with classmate Lenzelle Smith Jr., led the Buckeyes to four NCAA tournaments, three "Sweet 16s," two "Elite Eights" and the 2012 Final Four. Individually, Craft is the all-time steals leader in Ohio State and Big Ten history with 337. His 694 career assists tops the Ohio State chart and rates No. 5 in Big Ten history. Craft was equally, if not more accomplished, in the classroom. A three-time academic All-American, Ohio State's first three-time honoree and just the fourth in Big Ten history, Craft also was named the academic All-American of the year in Division I Men's Basketball, twice, one of just three to be so honored all-time. At the 2014 Final Four in Dallas, Craft was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year and is a 2014 Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American.