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June 19, 2024

Craft Signs With Delta State

Bayou senior excited about chance 

to play college basketball

By Andy Collier, Sports Editor, The Bolivar Bullet

Bayou Academy senior forward/center Thomas Craft has decided to continue his basketball career on the collegiate level as he signed with Delta State University on Jan. 31. 

Craft has been a force for the Colts since his eighth grade year and has made the All-District Team four straight years. Craft was named District 1-4A Co Player of the Year as a freshman in 2021. He’s helped lead Bayou to the state tournament three times (4A 2020, 5A 2021, 2022) with one trip to the Overall Tournament (2022). Craft has been the driving force for the Colts this year as they were 18-9 as of press time and the third seeded team from District 1 heading into Midsouth Association of Independent Schools 5A Boys North State Basketball Tournament which was set to begin on Tuesday (Feb. 6) at Cleveland. Craft’s terrific play during his career has him as the school’s all-time leader in career points with 1,948. 

Craft was thrilled about the chance to play basketball on the collegiate level. 

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Craft. “My dream has been to play college basketball. With Delta State being in my hometown and being around everyone that I know was a big deal in why I chose DSU. I feel like I fit well in the system that they have.”

The 18 wins the Colts have this year have already topped the 16 wins the team had last year. 

Craft has enjoyed his senior season . 

“It’s been a fun year this year,” said Craft. “Me and Carson (Jenkins) have more experience this year than we’ve had in previous years. Usually, it’s been a senior class that hadn’t started until they’re seniors. This year, we’ve had people that have played up since their freshman and sophomore years.”

Craft’s great play has drawn more attention from opposing teams each year during his career. He’s really had to battle for his numbers in every game this season. 

“I’ve been able to handle the ball under pressure,” said Craft. “This year, I’ve had double and triple teams come at me, and I’ve been able to make decisions when that happens.”

Bayou Academy Head Boys Basketball Coach Wesley Aldridge said Craft gives it his best effort everyday. 

“Thomas has been the hardest working player I’ve ever coached,” said Aldridge. “Everything Thomas has gotten has been through hard work and sweat. Delta State is getting a really hard working, mentally tough player who cares about winning.”

Aldridge said Craft has been a great ambassador for the team and the school. 

“Outside of basketball, Thomas is one of the best kids I’ve ever known,” said Aldridge. “He exemplifies everything it means to be a student-athlete. If my kids turn out halfway as good of a person as Thomas is, I’d be a lucky person. I’m definitely going to miss coaching him, but I’m extremely excited I’ll be able to follow his career with a great seat cheering him at my alma mater Delta State.” 

Craft said his main focus at DSU starting out will be to do whatever the team needs him to do.

“I’ll be coming in as a freshman,” said Craft. “I’ll be filling a role position to start with, but I’ll be doing what I can to help Delta State.”