By Greg M. Cooper, US Presswire
When it comes to watching basketball, I much prefer watching college basketball to the NBA. Many people disagree, but that is a story for another day. I prefer watching college basketball but I love the unpredictability of the NBA free agency, draft, and trading period. The college basketball equivalent is recruiting, but that takes place over the whole year. This could never happen in college basketball, based just on the definition of “student athletes.” But if trading was allowed in college basketball, one possible trade stands above the rest for me, Duke’s Quinn Cook for Ohio State’s Aaron Craft.
Aaron Craft is my favorite college basketball player, after every Duke player. He is a top notch student, a great basketball player and a generally nice person. He plays with grit, determination and hard work. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the game, a crafty offensive player, and a terrific leader. As much as I like Quinn Cook, Aaron Craft is an amazing basketball player and would fit right in with Duke.
This trade would likely never happen in this scenario, due to Coach K and Thad Matta keeping their own player. Even with that as the case, this trade would work amazingly for both sides. Both are great people students, people and athletes, which would allow them to fit in at the other school. This has nothing to do with a dislike for Quinn Cook, I just believe Aaron Craft is the better fit for Duke. All trades must be two sided, and I also believe that Cook would be a better fit for Ohio State.
Aaron Craft and Quinn Cook’s styles both fit better with the other team. Duke has a lot of scoring, and would benefit from a more pass first point guard. Quinn Cook is a good passer, but can not distribute the way Aaron Craft can. This would help set up the great scorers Duke already has; Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood and Rasheed Sulaimon. After the loss of Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State lacks scoring. It will likely force Aaron Craft into a larger scoring role, that he is not truly made for. Quinn Cook is a better scoring guard then Craft, and could help add to Ohio State’s scoring. Ohio State is a great defensive team but would love to have the offensive boost that would come from Cook.
The styles fit better for each player, but both would also fit better with the players. Duke has struggled defensively over the past few seasons. Aaron Craft would go a long way to fixing that. He would allow Duke’s athletic team to press more effectively with his defense. He would also allow Duke to be a more effective offensive team by allowing Andre Dawkins to play more minutes then the offensively challenged Tyler Thorton. For Ohio State, Cook provides them with variety. Ohio State already has a player with similar skills to Craft in Shannon Scott. Playing Scott and Cook together would allow Ohio State to have more variety in their game. He could run a dynamic pick and roll with LaQuinton Ross as well. Both players fit well with their team, but would fit better with the other team.
Both players also fit best into the opposing teams future plans better. Duke is going strong after top point guard recruit Tyus Jones. Although he and Cook can play together, it would be better for him to be the main point guard on the team. With Aaron Craft being a senior, it would allow for Tyus Jones to come to Duke without having to worry about another point guard. Although Ohio State is recruiting Tyus Jones, few people believe he will pick Ohio State. Having Quinn Cook would allow Ohio State to have security at point guard next season, and then go strong after 2015 point guard Jalen Brunson. Both teams would benefit from having their top point guard graduate at the time of the other teams point guard.
All in all, I think a Aaron Craft for Quinn Cook trade would be perfect. Both teams get a point guard that fills the roll better than the person they have now. Even without the hypothetical trade, both teams and point guards will have extremely successful years. This discussion does not mean I do not value Cook at Duke, I just believe that Craft is the better fit. As a person who is a huge Aaron Craft fan, I would kill to see him in a Duke uniform slapping the floor like Coach Wojo.