Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
As millions of college basketball fans filled out their NCAA March Madness brackets, some women concentrated on a different basketball ranking.
The women’s magazine “Cosmopolitan” issued its “Hottest Guys of March Madness 2013” list, offering its picks for the hottest NCAA basketball players. Among the 26 “hotties” that made the list was Ohio State’s very own junior guard Aaron Craft, who made the game-winning shot against Iowa State Sunday to send the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16.
Craft made the list for the second year in a row.
“Aaron made our list last year and we have no shame in putting his hot self on it again,” the article said.
After being asked why he appeals to a female audience, Craft said, “I don’t know. Luck of the draw, I guess. I think publicity kind of helps a little bit. If anything, it has to be the red cheeks. For whatever reason, that must do it,” Craft said Thursday at the University of Dayton Arena prior to the Buckeyes’ NCAA Tournament game against Iona.
Jeff Boals, assistant men’s basketball coach, was not surprised that Craft made the list.
“I think females 8 years old to 68 years old would concur with ‘Cosmopolitan’s’ addition of Aaron on their list,” Boals said in an email. “Aaron has the boy-next-door looks, low key demeanor.”
Boals said Craft excels on and off the basketball court.
“Aaron is one of those guys you love if he’s on your team and a guy you don’t like if you have to play against him,” Boals said. “Everyone appreciates how hard he plays and the way he plays the game.”
According to bookofodds.com, an estimated 40 million Americans will fill out March Madness brackets, including President Barack Obama, who has OSU in his Final Four.
“Craft’s defense is unbelievable,” Obama said in an ESPN video while filling out his bracket.
Furthermore, after OSU’s win against Iowa State Sunday, Miami Heat forward LeBron James tweeted, “AARON CRAFT!!!! #GoBucks.”
Craft’s 3-point shot in the last 2.4 seconds of the game, sealed the 78-75 victory and sent the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. Next the Buckeyes will face the University of Arizona on Thursday in Los Angeles, Calif.
Aside from Obama and James, Craft also has a large fan base at OSU. There are at least five parody Twitter accounts dedicated to Craft, including “Mrs. Aaron Craft,” “Aaron Craft Fans” and “Aaron Craft’s Hands.” Craft’s Facebook fan page had nearly 15,000 likes as of Sunday night.
According to twee.co, in November 2012 “#thingsIwoulddotoAaronCraft” was trending on Twitter in the Columbus area.
Laura Elliott, a second-year in marketing, said she thinks there are a lot of different factors that put Craft on the hotness list.
“I think a lot of girls think he’s really attractive, and I also heard that he’s a really nice person, which makes him more attractive,” Elliott said.
Not all men at OSU feel the same about Craft as the female population.
“The reason the ladies love Aaron Craft so much is because he plays a leadership role on the basketball team,” said Matthew Hay, a second-year in biology. “They see him all the time and they’ve been looking for a figure to take that place in OSU basketball.”
Alissa Clendenen, assistant director of OSU’s athletics communications, said, “We really have not committed much thought to this topic,” in an email regarding Craft’s position on the list.
Other March Madness players that made “Cosmo’s” March Hotness list include Mike Bruesewitz of University of Wisconsin, Will Sheehey of Indiana University, Trey Burke of University of Michigan, and Keith Appling of Michigan State.