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2017-18 Marquette Men’s Basketball Player Preview: #4 Theo John

Let’s take a look at the one freshman not from Michigan.

Marquette men’s basketball
Theo John doing Theo John things.

The 2017-18 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let's get into the Marquette Golden Eagles basketball roster and take a look at what to expect from each player this season. We'll be going through the players one by one: First the four freshmen going in alphabetical order by last name, moving on to MU’s lone available transfer this season, and then wrapping up with the returning players, going in order of average minutes played per game last season from lowest to highest.

We’re going to organize our thoughts about the upcoming season as it relates to each player into categories:

  • Reasonable Expectations
  • Why You Should Get Excited
  • Potential Pitfalls

With that out of the way, we turn our attention to the fourth and final freshman on the roster, and the only one not making his way to Marquette from Michigan.....

Theo John

Freshman - #4 - Forward - 6’9” - 245 lb. - Minneapolis, Minnesota

First off I want to say Theo is one of the nicest guys on campus. Every time I see him, I dap him up and say what up, total class act of a guy. Now lets talk about his basketball abilities.

Theo John is a 6-9, 245 pound, freshman forward out of Minneapolis. He played high school ball at Champlin Park High School and averaged 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks a game as a junior. He brought his team to the state championship game this past season where they lost to nationally ranked powerhouse Apple Valley 60-54. According to 247 Sports, John was listed as 6-8, 210 pounds, if John grew an inch and gained 35 pounds since his senior year he will be a huge presence down low for the Golden Eagles. 247 Sports has John ranked as the 131st best prospect in the class of 2017 with a composite score of 205, while ESPN gave him three stars and a scout grade of 79. He drew interests from many Big Ten schools along with Cal and Oklahoma. Theo has the possibility to be one of the most underrated prospects in the class if he gets a good amount of minutes on the floor.

Reasonable Expectations

Marquette has six players listed as forwards/centers on their roster. One of those players is Harry Froling, who is ineligible until late December, and another two are Sacar Anim and Sam Hauser who are not really capable of playing the four or five in a full time capacity. This will lead to Theo getting prime playing time as a freshman I believe. I think Theo will come off the bench but will come into games early especially if Sam, Sacar or Matt Heldt are in foul trouble. I expect Theo to come in and help the interior defense a lot. Head coach Steve Wojciechowski recruited him to block shots and grab rebounds, which he did by the boatload for his Howard Pulley club team. Theo seems to be a gritty player with a thirst to get better on both ends of the court. After watching his highlight tapes, I can tell Theo is a fan of the pick and roll and can dunk ferociously, he even showed the ability to drive baseline during the tape. There was even one video called Marquette’s Theo John Man Child which drew my interest immediately. The video featured John blocking shots and destroying defenders on alley oops while he got excited. I love excited players and cannot wait to see some highlight reel dunks from Theo.

Why You Should Get Excited

You should get excited for Theo because Theo is excited to be at Marquette. He brings a lot of energy on the court and has shown that he can make fans get out of their seats. Marquette was one of the worst defensive high major teams in the country last year and John was brought in to help fix that. He will get a bunch of playing time early on in the season and all coach Wojo and his staff want Theo to do, at least right now, is block shots and get rebounds, which are two things he is pretty good at. He will be played at both the four and the five, but he is a bit undersized to play the five. You should also be excited for Theo because he is around the same size as the Big East’s best big men in Angel Delgado and Omari Spellman. If Theo sticks around long enough he could turn into a double-double machine/one of the nation’s best big men like Delgado. Theo is an old school stay in the paint gritty big man and fans should be excited to seem him develop.

Potential Pitfalls

I hate exposing a players weakness because they are obviously much better at basketball than myself, but that’s my job right now. So, I need to address Theo’s weaknesses and scenarios where he could find himself not getting minutes on the hardwood.

A weakness I have noticed is that Theo is a bit slow. He’s a big man so he gets some leeway, but I think if he wants to be an elite big man he needs to get quicker running down the floor. He’s a strong dude which will give him an advantage in the low post, but if he gets down the court faster he could beat his defender and have an easier look at the rim.

Other than just pure speed, the coaching staff has talked about John’s need to stop thinking about what he’s doing on the court and just react and attack by instinct. This isn’t a flaw in his game, mind you, as the coaches acknowledge that a large part of it is merely John acclimating himself to Division 1 hoops.

Other than his speed, I cannot really find a weakness in Theo’s game. He is a tough kid who gets upset when his defensive assignment scores on him, which will play well into Wojo’s coaching style. I expect Theo to play a ton minutes as a freshman based on his defensive ability and his ability to finish in a pick and roll situation. Defenders will look to press out on Markus Howard this season so if he can develop a pick and roll play, Theo John will be on the receiving end, finishing with a vicious dunk. Heck, even just the simplest alley-oop may help John find his way onto the scoresheet on the regular. RIP to the rims in the Bradley Center and other Big East arenas because Theo John will be looking to do some serious damage on them.