Craft says UT is too far away; Ohio point guard for 2010 class wants to be closer to home

Basketball prospect Aaron Craft isn’t ready to volunteer his services to Tennessee, after all.

Craft, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Liberty-Benton High School in Findlay, Ohio, said Tuesday he’s re-opening his recruitment.

“Basically, I sat down with my family and decided this would be best for me,’’ said Craft, who will graduate in the Class of 2010. “It was nothing Tennessee did or didn’t do.’’

Craft said that even though Knoxville is only a 6 1/2- to 7-hour drive from his home, his family wants him even closer than that.

“Playing in (AAU) tournaments in Wisconsin and Arkansas, and then coming back home ... we decided that having this support system and being closer to home was worth looking into,’’ Craft said. “I just wanted to be around people year around, and my mom and dad like the idea of me being closer to home if I need advice or support.’’

Ohio State is now believed to have interest in Craft, while at the time of his commitment, the Buckeyes had not made an offer.

Craft said UT is welcome to continue to recruit him, and confirmed he told the staff as much when they inquired.

Craft averaged 18.5 points, six assists and five rebounds last season and as a quarterback led Liberty-Benton to the state title game in football. This, in addition to carrying a 4.0 GPA and scoring 32 on his ACT.

Craft made a verbal commitment to play for the Vols on Sept. 3, 2008, but much has changed since then.

For starters, his recruiting ranking, and thus, the level of interest other marquee programs have in Craft.

Craft wasn’t listed in the top 150 by Rivals.com at the time of his commitment and was relatively anonymous among most all recruiting services.

Craft has since risen to No. 70 by Rivals, and is rated 18th among all point guards in the Class of 2010.

The Vols have added commitments from two others guards in the Class of 2010, Josh Selby and Jordan McRae, since Craft committed.

Selby, who played at DeMatha High in Hyattsville, MD., is the No. 15 player in the Class of 2010 according to Rivals and the No. 3 point guard. The 6-1 Selby made a verbal commitment to attend UT on Sept. 20, 2008.

McRae, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Liberty County (Ga.) High committed that same day. McRae is the No. 37 player in the Class of 2010 and ranked No. 9 among sh ooting guards.

The Vols signed junior college point guard Melvin Goins, of Mount San Jacinto (Calif.) to their most recent signing class on April 15, and Grainger County’s Skylar McBee pledged his services on May 7.

McBee, a 6-2 combo-guard, turned down scholarship offers from Marshall and Santa Clara to join UT as a walk-on this summer with hopes of earning a scholarship after his freshman year.

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Comments » 74

give_him_6 writes:

Probably a good move for him and us. WE need to get some inside depth anyway.

Go Vols

soknoxcomom writes:

piont guard? Please, please proof before printing!

richvol writes:

in response to give_him_6:

Probably a good move for him and us. WE need to get some inside depth anyway.

Go Vols

You are exactly right...we need a really good big man and have for a long time.

murrayvol writes:

Must have been a soft verbal. Good luck Mr. Craft.

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

Let CEO take over as lead recruiter. He'll recommitt tomorrow.

CoverOrange writes:

"piont"?? Is that the Michigan/Canadian spelling? jk

A buddy of mine met his parents several months ago at a UT event. Said Aaron was really excited about Pearl and going to UT. Hope he is happy wherever he lands. Apparently, Pearl can see talent, though.

mfisher722002#213805 writes:

A little proofing before posting a headline goes a long way...

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Yes, we need a widebody inside player with some muscle! Do we have any scholarships to offer, though? Go get 'em CBP!

Vol_Jokes writes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

FLVol writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

You Memphis fans are unreal. I can't recall a time when Memphis has given UT a beat down in that arena. In fact, we knocked your sorry butts off 2 years ago on national tv the only big game Memphis played all year and they lost. So until you beat UT on a regular basis shut up.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

Vol_Jokes, have you ever heard the old saying, "People that live in glass houses should not throw stones?"

So tell us, what is a five "start" recruit?

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to FLVol:

You Memphis fans are unreal. I can't recall a time when Memphis has given UT a beat down in that arena. In fact, we knocked your sorry butts off 2 years ago on national tv the only big game Memphis played all year and they lost. So until you beat UT on a regular basis shut up.

FLVol, don't be sucked in by that loper. He's as slimy as his ex-coach. Ignore him and he'll slither away. Although I must say I enjoyed the way you put him in his place. You're 100% dead on!

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

Orangelife writes:

haha "five start". Thats awesome. Memphis fans are coming out of the woodworks for this one.

MrBamSeydu writes:

Just another example of a little publicity going to a young man's head. He needs to understand what a "commitment" is. Good luck to the woman he decides to marry.

PaulTheVol writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

I love it when Memphis fans attempt to talk trash. It's like you snot-nosed little brother trying to act tough. It's just funny.

crappieking writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

BREAKING NEWS: Latavious Williams will sign with the U OF M. Coach pimple face Pastner will agree to take his ACT test for him since he can't spell "dog". The Tiger assistant coaches have agreed to follow him to class and issue him pre-filled out test for him to turn in. Hey Vol-jokes, whats the all time head to head between UM and UT? 12-7. Soon to be 13-7. Book it.

golfballs03 writes:

Seriously, there are better players that are interested in us that we haven't offered scholarship offers to. Regardless, Craft is a little punk for pulling a move like this. I can't stand this BS with comitting and opening back up. Tell the kid to take a hike. If he's not serious about coming to UT then he can have fun playing for Dayton.

CoachFulmer writes:

Like other posters have said, we need depth inside and a consistent shooter who can make the three. And also, Memphis fans talking trash after Cal Pal left? HAHA Have fun in Conference USA.

GO VOLS!

Vol_Jokes writes:

FlaVol says "the only big game Memphis played all year"
Ah, excuse me. I believe we were in the national championship game last year. Do you think the UT game was biggger? That game was big to the Vols. A team that had really never done much on the national stage. To Memphis it was just another obstacle to get to where they had planned on being all year. The final 4 and the national championship game. Two programs and two totally different expectations. Memphis - national championship. Vols - try and win the sec and hopefully do well in the ncaa tournament.

GerryOp, way to search thru my post for a misspelling. Once again it was only done to make for easier reading for the vol fans. Git it?

murrayvol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Vol_Jokes, have you ever heard the old saying, "People that live in glass houses should not throw stones?"

So tell us, what is a five "start" recruit?

Touche OP! :)

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

I hear Jonathon Crompton can play guard on the boys basketball team, because coach summitt would cut his sorry behind....

murrayvol writes:

in response to VolDog25:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, Josh Selby's only the #3 point guard in the 2010 class. We're in deep dung if we can't do better than that.

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Yeah, Josh Selby's only the #3 point guard in the 2010 class. We're in deep dung if we can't do better than that.

Murray don't be suprised if he reopens his recruitment.
I am hearing that he really wants to do that.

Vol_Jokes writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Volumnus writes:

Recruiting practice wise, we are in sending the wrong message in the basketball program. Our current group is apparently telling things to recruits and changing the story down the road. Stringing kids along and playing games. Honesty in the recruiting process is probably rare, but it doesn't cost much to be honest and it will come back to bite you in the backside when you are not. I get the feeling that our BB coaching staff feels as if they have rock star status and are teflon coated or bullet proof. They are not. Last season should have reminded them of that. I hope we do better this season, but I am only cautiously optimistic.

The absence of a "Craft" leaves us without depth at PG again. I have seen Goins play and I think he is probably not any better than Bobby Maze. Skylar is a shooter, pure and simple and he is better than anyone we had last year. We need a pure point, with speed and defense and the ability to dish the ball and penetrate and set up Skylar to shoot(unselfish is the key). If a point scores 6 points a game, but hits the open shooters with good passes timed well, so be it. If he has the assists, steals the balls, mixes it up a bit and brings energy to this team, that is what we need. We don't need anymore rock stars, we need a blue collar guard with defense, speed and quickness and ball delivery skills.

I have to think that the rumors that I have heard about our staff and their practices are beginning to be more believable. I don't care how well you did with the existing players coming in, you better be able to recruit and do it famously and consistently. When you get a commitment, you better keep it buttoned up tight. To have one re-opened sends a bad message.

MNVOL98 writes:

Where are the Bigs? I want to see TN on the court with a legit 7-footer. Maybe Thabeet has a brother...

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to Volumnus:

Recruiting practice wise, we are in sending the wrong message in the basketball program. Our current group is apparently telling things to recruits and changing the story down the road. Stringing kids along and playing games. Honesty in the recruiting process is probably rare, but it doesn't cost much to be honest and it will come back to bite you in the backside when you are not. I get the feeling that our BB coaching staff feels as if they have rock star status and are teflon coated or bullet proof. They are not. Last season should have reminded them of that. I hope we do better this season, but I am only cautiously optimistic.

The absence of a "Craft" leaves us without depth at PG again. I have seen Goins play and I think he is probably not any better than Bobby Maze. Skylar is a shooter, pure and simple and he is better than anyone we had last year. We need a pure point, with speed and defense and the ability to dish the ball and penetrate and set up Skylar to shoot(unselfish is the key). If a point scores 6 points a game, but hits the open shooters with good passes timed well, so be it. If he has the assists, steals the balls, mixes it up a bit and brings energy to this team, that is what we need. We don't need anymore rock stars, we need a blue collar guard with defense, speed and quickness and ball delivery skills.

I have to think that the rumors that I have heard about our staff and their practices are beginning to be more believable. I don't care how well you did with the existing players coming in, you better be able to recruit and do it famously and consistently. When you get a commitment, you better keep it buttoned up tight. To have one re-opened sends a bad message.

Great post!
I am hearing a lot of noise that Selby will never wear the Orange of UT. I for one am very worried that we are getting ready for a hard fall. Cal at UK and on a lesser degree Grant at Alabama really worry me. UK is going to be loaded every year and Grant is a pretty damn good coach that can recruit.
I am not really worried about Donovan at UF because I am hearing that he has lost all desire to be at UF.
Real disgruntled with the fan base or lack of.

TotalPackage1 writes:

CAN HE GET UNDER CENTER, TAKE A SNAP AND NOT THROW A DEEP-OUT INTO THE THIRD ROW?

utallvol writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You have one sport to cheer for. It must suck to wait that long every year for basketball season to (five start).Ha Ha Ha HA HA

tennrich1 writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

Showed this to a "real" Memphis fan...gives tons of money, season tickets, serves on a couple of boards.. etc...said this type of FAN..has completely embarrasssed the UofM tigers nationally over there response to Cal leaving....this one is just a kid though...the others should know better...

utallvol writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Here's a good idea for; stay on your own team's site!!! But than again we are talking b ball the only sport played in Carolina. The reason why yall suck @ everything else.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

Stinkin' trolls are out in force. Ignore 'em guys, just ignore 'em. Try not to feed their need for attention. They obviously don't get any anywhere else.

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

87UTVOL writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Apparently those outside the state don't bother to look at Tiger High's history or win-loss record against the Vols. As for tradition, the Vols are much deeper. Leaving out Gene Bartow from '70 to '74, the Tigers really started in about '79 with Dana Kirk realizing if he recruited and started a roster of the best high school players in Memphis he could win a lot of basketball games. Kirk had his 'problems' and in came local Orange Mound guy Larry Finch. Mediocre (63% winning %). Then came the Tic Price debacle, interim Jones, then Coach Cal.

Compare that history to the Vols (with Ray Mears) battles dating back to the 60's with Rupp (and his successors) at Kentucky, as well as other SEC battles. No question the Vols have been up and down over the past 20 or so years, but we've still managed to whip up on the Tigers more often than not. With Pearl, we have 4 straight NCAA's, a No. 1 ranking (knocking Memphis out of that spot last year) and the toughest schedule in the country.

Cal elevated Memphis. No question. Cal benefited from playing nobodies from CUSA. He did it with hometown Memphis players, some one and doners, the help of Worldwide Wes and hiring some family members and friends. I don't think Cal has proved how good of a coach he is. Maybe he's great. At Kentucky, he'll have that chance.

The SEC is good, even better over the past 10-15 years. Some years better than the hallowed ACC. With ESPN now effectively being the SEC Network and having Cal in Lexington, the SEC moves another notch or two up.

Little brother Memphis always has a giant chip on it's shoulder, which is apparent when their fans jump on these forums.

Plus, the SEC has other sports, notably the best football in America, national champions in track, swimming, the list goes on.

utallvol writes:

Gannon

Volumnus writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What happened is "WE" started believing our own hype. We recruited players "WE" have never had before, with different egos and a lack of work ethic. The "STAR" is a very fickle thing. In addition they are making commitments and open ended leading statements and then renigging or denying those statements in recruiting conversations. The fiasco with Skylar McBee is evidence. My understanding is that they strung him along then signed Goins and offered Skylar a "walk-on" deal hoping (accurately) that his blood ran orange. I hope for his sake that Skylar did not make a mistake trusting these guys, as I am a big fan of his and a diminishing fan of our coaching staff. Old Darryl Royal said "You need to dance with the one what brung you." We got to the sweet 16 with defense, speed, quickness and hard work. All of those were absent last year. The stars were too good to play defense, too big to be quick and apparently did not work hard enough to shoot well. When you drop a like a rock real fast and then you start losing recruits, that is a warning shot.

Skylar McBee should be awarded Craft's scholarship if Craft vacates.

CynicalCitizen writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Must have been a soft verbal. Good luck Mr. Craft.

You may be right. I was sure he was a hard oral commitment from the time he made his announcement.

utallvol writes:

in response to Volumnus:

What happened is "WE" started believing our own hype. We recruited players "WE" have never had before, with different egos and a lack of work ethic. The "STAR" is a very fickle thing. In addition they are making commitments and open ended leading statements and then renigging or denying those statements in recruiting conversations. The fiasco with Skylar McBee is evidence. My understanding is that they strung him along then signed Goins and offered Skylar a "walk-on" deal hoping (accurately) that his blood ran orange. I hope for his sake that Skylar did not make a mistake trusting these guys, as I am a big fan of his and a diminishing fan of our coaching staff. Old Darryl Royal said "You need to dance with the one what brung you." We got to the sweet 16 with defense, speed, quickness and hard work. All of those were absent last year. The stars were too good to play defense, too big to be quick and apparently did not work hard enough to shoot well. When you drop a like a rock real fast and then you start losing recruits, that is a warning shot.

Skylar McBee should be awarded Craft's scholarship if Craft vacates.

Agree 100%. Not sure why everyone is worried about our coaching staff. No different giving a schlorship to a player that's a bust. If you tell a kid that they have a shot to do this or start here, that kid still have to work for it. Kids just dont work as hard anymore. Want it handed to them.

pete_hastings#206889 writes:

He's a high character kid and very talented. I hope he's confident enough in his own abilities to stick by his original commitment and win a job on the court. Based on what I read about him earlier, he could & should be that kind of kid.

He sounded just like Dane Bradshaw - but maybe more athletic. Hope he still decides to come our way.

We do need a big man, but I hate to free up a spot this way.

TD_4_UT writes:

in response to biggestutfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hathaway wasn't enough athlete for his size. He couldn't play for 3 minutes straight without being winded. Talk about "Wheezy".

utucla writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

and how many NC's did Calip*ssy win at memphis with all those 5 stars?....answer...just as many as UT....keep chocking on that nat'l title game loss little tiger high fan.....

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It is cute I agree. I am going to guess 6 or 7. My grandsom plays on the computer all the time.(Supervised)
What happened to the days when kids played outside?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Must have been a soft verbal. Good luck Mr. Craft.

Any chance they could home school him and drive him to practices nearby?

Slystone writes:

I'm surprise no one has mentioned the fact that Joe Jackson out of Memphis still has UT on his list of schools for 2010. And before someone says we already have a point guard in Josh Selby there is nothing wrong in having two. And yes they both are good enough to play on the floor at the same time. McCrae is big enough to play a wing. Selby is really a combo guard. Imagine a backcourt of Selby, Jackson and McCrae. Only one problem and that is Pearl can't seem to be able to covet the key players out of the Bluff City.

SmokyMTNVol writes:

in response to Florrible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Florrible

Are you hearing the same buzz that we were hearing last year? I am not.
Do you think Pearl is a good bench coach? I don't
I am not sure why he brought up Pastner but everything else is legit.
Why are you whining about his post?

TopTenn writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

LW JUCO Bound!!!!!

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

in response to MrBamSeydu:

Just another example of a little publicity going to a young man's head. He needs to understand what a "commitment" is. Good luck to the woman he decides to marry.

its obvious from the apron strings that momma still has him to close to the bosom....he won't be marrying for another 15-20 years if then.

you should think outside the living room son!

TopTenn writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

"Piont guard Craft reopens recruitment"

"Piont" only in Knoxville. Guess the writer figured more people would understand it if he misspelled it the way most others do around there.

While you boys fool around with piont guard craft, Memphis has landed a five start recruit today. Latavious Williams has committed to Memphis. Coach Cal only had 5 five stars in his 9 years at Memphis. Williams will join big man Will Coleman next season at Memphis. Two star recruits playing for the Tigers next season. Yep boys, the Tigers will stay as one of the more elite teams in spite of what our slime ball ex coach did.
See you next season for your fedex forum whooping. Maybe if Pearl holds the margin of defeat to single digits you guys can give him another big raise.

LW Juco Bound!!!

old_number1 writes:

in response to Florrible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's a stretch, but I'll go with ya on that one.

SoddyVol writes:

Maybe Crafts parents saw articles about home invader Smith. Could they be afraid he would be too far away and have bad influence around him?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to SoddyVol:

Maybe Crafts parents saw articles about home invader Smith. Could they be afraid he would be too far away and have bad influence around him?

Craft's parents saw the craep that some dumb masses on here posted when he was offered last year. Now some of the dumb masses on here are questioning his "commitment" to anything.

Some (alot) of you represent the University of Tennessee poorly. Believe or not prospects read stuff on the internet.

(Not aimed at you grantck. Just a convenient soapbox.)

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