Buffalo Grove's Craft well-rounded on and off the court
The full picture.
That's what Buffalo Grove boys basketball coach Keith Peterson wants you to see when you are looking at junior Kam Craft.
A prolific scorer, Peterson says that Craft is more than that.
"The greatest thing about him, is to watch him work," Peterson said. "How much time he puts in. How much he is at the gym. He is always last out of the gym. He makes his teammates hang with him. He makes them better."
Craft says that while his game has improved, his leadership skills have improved exponentially.
"When I was a freshman and sophomore, I learned a lot from the older guys," Craft said. "I learned how to be a good leader. I am trying to put that into practice for myself. I used to lead by example with my play as an underclassman. Now, being older, I can be more of a vocal leader."
Peterson says that Craft's leadership skills extend past the basketball court.
"He is learning to become a good leader for us," Peterson said. "For how good he is, he is very humble. I have so many teachers come up to me and say how excited they are to have him in class. He has great leadership in the classroom and the kids buy into that, too."
Craft says he feels that as well.
"It translates to more than just basketball," Craft said. "It is learning to become more of a better person on and off the court. I really enjoy taking that role. You learn to talk to adults better and it opens up so many other opportunities."
Craft is still scoring at a crazy pace.
After scoring over 500 points his freshman season, Craft scored 753 points last season as a sophomore to break BG's all-time season scoring record of 745 points set by Brian Coderre in 1983-84. So far this season he is averaging 24.1 points per game, despite drawing double teams and other exotic defensive schemes.
That play has helped Craft earn scholarship offers from DePaul, Nebraska, UIC, Drake, Xavier and Maryland. He has also heard from South Carolina, Purdue, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Creighton. Craft said that will use the summer AAU season to help him with his decision.
After basketball, it will be bats and balls for him. A pitcher, Craft figures to be the rotation for the Bison this spring.
"I played baseball and basketball my whole life," Craft said. "I actually used to play more baseball. I just like basketball more. I am just a pitcher and I work at that in the offseason."
Peterson said that he has heard from BG's baseball coaches of Kraft's abilities on the diamond.
"They have big expectations for him in the baseball program," Peterson said. "He would have played on the varsity last year if there was a season."
Max scoring update:
It has been a tremendous week for Rolling Meadows' star Max Christie. And it could get even better.
Christie was named on Tuesday to the prestigious McDonald's All-American team. The Michigan State commit earned the nod based upon his overall play, which ranks him as one of the top high school players in the country.
Christie will now be looking at a couple of scoring milestones that he should pass shortly.
He became the all-time leading scorer in Rolling Meadows history just two weeks ago. He is currently at 1,962 points with eight games to play. He could break the 2,000 mark sometime this weekend when the Mustangs play Elk Grove on Friday and Hoffman Estates on Saturday.
Christie is also chasing the all-time Mid-Suburban League scoring mark of 2,073 points set by Buffalo Grove's Brian Allsmiller from 1973-1977.
MSL title chase:
With just two weeks remaining, that's how fast this basketball season has gone.
Unlike some other conferences that will end their seasons with conference tournaments, the MSL will continue its tradition of a championship game. The game will be played on March 13 at the East Division winner.
Rolling Meadows currently leads the East. The Mustangs are 5-0. Hersey, which lost to Meadows 74-69, is 5-1. Those teams will meet again on March 9 at Rolling Meadows. Prospect, which has two games remaining with Meadows and a game with Hersey this Friday, is 2-1.
In the West, it looks like a two-way race. Barrington leads the division with its 6-0 record. The Broncos also own a 52-42 victory over Fremd, which is second in the West with a 5-1 mark. The two teams meet again March 9 at Fremd.
Around the rim:
Wheeling head coach Tom Antosz got his first career head coaching victory last Saturday when the Wildcats beat Hoffman Estates 73-63.
Former Wheeling head coach and current head St. Viator coach Michael O'Keeffe picked up his first victory at his alma mater last Saturday when the Lions beat Lake Forest Academy 57-49.
Prospect's Luke Zardin, who has helped the Knights this season on the basketball court, just signed to be a preferred walk on for football at Northern Illinois.
Speaking of football, which starts next week with practices, fans can get an early glimpse of two of the area's best linemen battling against each other when Hersey plays at Fremd Saturday night on the hardwood. Hersey's Ryan Gudaitis, who is 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, could be battling inside against Fremd's Jack Walsh, who is 6-4, 295.