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Ohio State guard Aaron Craft drawing praise for impressive defense

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  March 23, 2012 03:19 PM

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When you're a college player and LeBron James praises you on Twitter, you're probably doing something right.

James praised Ohio State guard Aaron Craft on his defense during last night's Buckeyes win over Cincinnatti, calling Craft the best college defender in the country. The tweet:

If James had gone to college he would have gone to Ohio State, so there's undoubtedly some bias there. Still, Craft is an impressive defender. Celtics fans should be reminded of Avery Bradley when they watch Craft in that both players are great at beating their opponents -- most often a ball handler -- to a spot on the floor.

"The first time I saw him and I kept watching him and watching him, I felt probably the best thing he did was moved his feet and kept guys in front of him," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said Friday during a press conference at TD Garden. "I think from the standpoint of what makes a great defender, I think intelligence and desire, and he has both of those, and then obviously some God‑given abilities. But he takes great pride in what he's doing every single possession."

-- Wisconsin made 14 3-pointers against Syracuse on Thursday (another would have won the game), but the Buckeyes said they don't plan to employ the same strategy against the Orange.

"It's not our game plan just to get some threes," said Ohio State guard William Buford. "We want to move the ball against their defense. The threes certainly count, but we do want to move it and work it inside out."

Said guard DeShaun Thomas, "Yeah, our guards are trying attack in the middle and dump it down on the baseline. It's more than just shooting threes."

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