You've seen the narrative develop during this year's tournament, haven't you?
Aaron Craft is annoying.
Why is he annoying? Is it because he's a defensively oriented player and the fact that he supposedly gets away with calls? Because he's just so darn "scrappy" and loved by Jim Nantz types and probably won't make it at the next level? Or is it because he has rosy cheeks and he's a Duke player in an Ohio State uniform?
I don't know. I don't care to be quite honest. Craft and his game doesn't annoy me. Maybe it's because all I was good for on the court was setting screens and falling down myself and I feel some empathy.
Then again, maybe Craft is annoying only because he fits all of our racial stereotypes about college basketball and that's what we assign him to be. Count on one hand the number of times you hear Victor Oladipo's defensive fundamentals highlighted or Trey Burke's basketball IQ praised. Maybe if Craft got arrested and jumped schools and flipped the bird he would be a celebrated troll instead of an annoying one.
Instead, Craft gets to answer dumb questions from Rick Reilly. Observe…
"Do you see how you might be annoying in basketball or in real life?"
Didn't you know Aaron Craft takes charges and also knocks kids' books out of their hands walking to class. Now maybe I'm prejudging Rick Reilly's planned thesis on Aaron Craft, but isn't this all utterly and completely pointless? I'm not exactly waiting for Rick Reilly's groundbreaking, thought-provoking column on Craft that brings a new perspective and begs us to rethink stereotypes or a hilarious piece of satire that takes them over the top and angers Yahoo commenters. (Are we sure Aaron Craft wasn't in the front row at the Bulls game too?)
Is Craft trolling Rick Reilly with his response? Is he trolling all of us? Are he and Rick Reilly going to continue to do battle troll for troll? Is this some kind of super duper trollfest and when Aaron Craft draws a charge tonight or gets a steal he's going to shoot fire out of his rosy cheeks with a wink and a smile and immediately send high school coaches into a state of euphoira with shouts of "THAT'S THE RIGHT WAY TO PLAY BASKETBALL" while ignoring his hideous-looking jumper and *the internet* into a state of frantically whipping up slideshows on 'WHY AARON CRAFT IS ACTUALLY DOUCHIER THAN J.J. REDICK"?
Aaron Craft is annoying and polarizing only because he fills our insatiable thirst for him to be annoying and polarizing. We and Rick Reilly need him to be. He checks all the right boxes.
Video via BigLeadSports