Marquette Wire

Men’s basketball notes: Theo John adapts ‘Tarzan’ mentality

Theo+John+says+he%27s+starting+to+feel+more+confident+about+his+role+on+the+team.
Theo John says he's starting to feel more confident about his role on the team.

Theo John says he's starting to feel more confident about his role on the team.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Theo John says he's starting to feel more confident about his role on the team.

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It didn’t take long for sophomore guard Markus Howard to find a nickname for freshman Theo John. Howard dubbed the imposing 6-foot-11 power forward “Tarzan.”

“See how he looks,” Howard said after Marquette’s 79-70 win over Northern Illinois. “I call him Tarzan.”

That nickname is starting to translate on the hardwood as well. John has given head coach Steve Wojciechowski another physical option down low on a team desperate for depth.

“He’s playing harder,” Wojo said. “He’s playing more physically.”

Monday night’s victory was John’s best performance in a Marquette uniform. He finished the night with seven points, five rebounds and three blocks on 3-for-6 shooting.

“He had some of his most physical plays of the season in (Monday’s) game,” Wojo said. “It was the most consistent minutes that he’s given us.”

Wojo was particularly a fan of John blocking shots. “If a shot goes up and you can get a hand on it, block that thing,” Wojo said. “He did that tonight, so maybe that freed him up a little bit of overthinking.”

The improved scoring allowed him to stay on the floor for 14 minutes, three minutes short of his career high. This put a damper on fellow big man Harry Froling’s Marquette debut. With John taking up minutes, the Southern Methodist University midseason transfer played just three minutes in the first half.

“John had his best game as a Marquette player, and it’s really hard to take Sam Hauser off the floor,” Wojo said. “We have to take a look at having a bigger lineup, which we will, but that’s not necessarily something that you are going to do during exam week when guys are fried.”

Foul trouble has kept John from emerging as a legitimate rotational player earlier in the year. He entered this week averaging 12 fouls per 40 minutes. If John maintains this rate throughout the season, it will be the most fouls per 40 minutes for any player in the Wojo era.

“I’m just still getting used to the college game,” John said. “(In) high school, I wasn’t allowed to play physical (sic) at all, and now and just knowing that happy medium between playing too physical and playing just enough physical — I’m still working through that.”

Perfecting that happy medium is still a work in progress. After avoiding any fouls until the 2:54 mark in the first half, he committed two of them 26 seconds apart from each other and had four fouls before the midpoint of the second half.

Still, John is doing all he can to live up to the Tarzan name, which starts with confidence.

“Confidence is a big thing,” John said. “It took a little longer than I expected, but that confidence is starting to come.”

 

QUICK SHOTS:

  • Andrew Rowsey is expected to practice after suffering a leg injury Monday night against Northern Illinois. Excluding his redshirt year in which he was ineligible, Rowsey has never missed a regular season game.
  • Former Marquette standouts and current Cleveland Cavaliers players Dwyane Wade and Jae Crowder combined to score 24 points in their return to the BMO Harris Bradley Center Tuesday, but the Cavs fell to the Bucks, 119-116. It was Wade and Crowder’s final regular season game in the Bradley Center.

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