By now, you should be more than familiar with our series of regularly updating leaderboards for various Marquette Golden Eagles sports accomplishments. Keep checking back to that link in the previous sentence for our charts as the seasons continue to churn through history and MU’s various teams continue to create new memories and accomplishments.
This time around, we’re going to take a look at the single season blocks record in men’s basketball, and more importantly, where Theo John stands in relation to it.
Over the past 20 years, it’s been rare for Marquette to have a truly great shot blocker. We saw a run in the 1990s of guys who could erase shots in the air starting with Jim McIlvaine completely eradicating all previous records with the four best seasons in program history to that point, and he was followed close behind by Amal McCaskill and Faisal Abraham, both of whom are in the top 10 more than once. However, since then, only Chris Otule has been able to even dent the top 10 all-time, and he only managed to tie for 10th place at the time. Henry Ellenson came close, recording 49 blocks in his one year in Milwaukee. Luke Fischer almost made it into the top 10 twice, falling just two blocks shy in both his senior year and sophomore year. Fischer’s sophomore season is probably technically the best shotblocking year that Marquette fans have seen since 1997, as he had to sit out eight games because of the NCAA’s transfer rules. Extrapolated for the whole season, Fischer would have landed in Marquette’s top seven all-time with those extra eight games.
That brings us to the 2019-20 season. Last year, Theo John turned himself into one of the most dominating defensive lane presences in the country. He swatted 70 shots a year ago, creating the seventh best shot blocking season in Marquette history and the best that MU fans have seen since Faisal Abraham got to 84 shots in 1996-97. That is a loooooong stretch without a performance like we saw from John a year ago, and from the looks of Game #1 this year, the Minnesota Monster has picked up right where he left off. John terrorized Loyola Maryland in Marquette’s opener, deflecting eight of their shots.
While no one can possibly expect John to keep that pace up all season long — There’s zero chance he breaks Mac’s record by 100, for crying out loud — he’s already just 47 blocks away from his second straight top 10 season. As such, it only seems appropriate that we get started tracking John’s ascension up the chart. He averaged two blocks per game a year ago to get to 70. Can he get to 80 this season and end up in the top five? Is three per game in the cards, thus giving him a crack at the second ever 100 block season? Can he average four per game and put a chase in for the all-time record?
Here’s what the chart looks like after COVID-19 ended the 2019-20 season.
Marquette Men’s Basketball Single Season Blocks Chart