Appling, Craft earn midseason All-American honors

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

BTN contributor Mike DeCourcy and Sporting News coworker Ryan Fagan recently teamed up to create their midseason All-American Teams. Two Big Ten stars, both point guards, earned recognition, as Michigan State’s Keith Appling landed on the second team and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft found a spot on the third team. See what they say about both players in this post.

[ MORE: See Sporting News' full midseason All-American teams ]

SECOND TEAM: Keith Appling

“The conventional wisdom that a player can’t truly convert from a natural scorer to a point guard is being blown away nightly by Appling, who has been every bit the playmaker coach Tom Izzo insisted he become—and that he’ll need to if he is to have a serious future in the NBA. Appling is averaging a career-high 4.6 assists, a career low in turnovers per minute and a career-best 50 percent shooting from the field. He improved from a 32 percent 3-point shooter to 48.3 percent this season, a monumental leap. While many of the team’s most important players have struggled with injury, Appling has been a dependable contributor even when he’s taken a knock or two. His 20-point/6 rebound/7 assist effort against Ohio State defensive star Aaron Craft—which included a game-winning 3-pointer in overtime—is one of this season’s defining performances.”

THIRD TEAM: Aaron Craft

“Death, taxes and Aaron Craft playing lock-down perimeter defense; such is life in the state of Ohio. Some thought the new crackdown on handsy defenders would hamper Craft’s game, but he’s always been more about positioning and footwork than going for reach-in steals. And so, with very few exceptions, Craft is once again the only player drawing All-America consideration despite a scoring average under 10 points per game (it’s 9.1, btw). The Buckeyes’ greatest strength, again, is their ability to keep opponents from getting comfortable on offense, and Craft, again, leads that charge.”

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SChawki on 1/15/2014 @ 12:13pm EDT Said:

While I appreciate the applause for these two BIG players the real theme to this story should be challenging the garbage story from SN. Clearly the BIG IS the best conference for basketball in the NCAA, and the only two players from this conference to receive honors are Appling and Craft. They deserve the credit, but so do at the very least four other players in this conference who are at minimum as good as these two.

KC Tom on 1/15/2014 @ 12:28pm EDT Said:

I’m not sure how anyone picking teams for a pick up game would chose Craft over Iowa’s Marble. Marble’s vs Craft in last matchup 7-13, 22 pts, 4 Reb, 3 Asst, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 3 TOs (similar line as Appling vs Craft) while Craft goes 2-5, 6 pts, 3 Reb, 6 Asst, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 6 TOs, and 5 fouls. I doubt that Craft even gets drafted, yet you include him on your All-American team?

akble on 1/15/2014 @ 12:51pm EDT Said:

at minimum better than these two- when the season is over only Appling will be on the frist three All Big Team teams

John D. Hinckley on 1/16/2014 @ 12:01am EDT Said:

I can see Appling, but Craft? The only mid-season All America team he deserves to be on is the All America hand-checking and getting away with it team. Against Iowa last Sunday CBS showed him hand-checking at least 10 times and he only got called once! He is the most over-rated player in the country.

KC Tom on 1/17/2014 @ 8:19am EDT Said:

So in MN loss Craft goes 35mn 2-6, 7 pts, 0 RB, 5 TO, 4 AS, 1 ST in 3rd consecutive loss and 3rd consecutive marginal at best outing. Craft won’t even deserve 3rd team all big ten with this sort of play, let alone the preposterous claim made here of all American.