With Duke’s season officially in the books, the Blue Zone breaks down each player's season, including comparisons to their preseason projections. We previously looked at Jaylen Blakes, Bates Jones and Joey Baker. Next up is Theo John:
- Year: Graduate Student
- Height: 6-foot-9
- Position: Forward
- This year’s stat line: 2.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 11.3 MPG
- The Blue Zone’s projected stat line: 5.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 18.0 MPG
Season breakdown: John came into the season as one of two graduate students on Duke’s roster who had already experienced four years of NCAA basketball. He transferred from Marquette, where he played under former Blue Devil Steve Wojciechowski. The Minneapolis native was successful in his time at Marquette, starting in the last three years of his undergraduate career and breaking records with the second-most blocks in the program’s history. At 6-foot-9 and 242 pounds, it was clear that John would be heavily relied on to defend the rim. It was unclear where he would fit exactly, with teammate Mark Williams starting at center. However, John was able to find a place for himself on the court, closing the season with 14 minutes in the Final Four game against North Carolina.
The graduate student played in all but one game in the regular season and the entire postseason. He saw an average of 11.3 minutes per game and contributed with points in the majority of Duke’s games. John was a consistent player throughout the season, but his most notable contribution was in the Final Four. In the NCAA tournament, the 23-year-old saw a low of five minutes of playing time in the Elite Eight against Arkansas. His high was 14 minutes in Duke’s season-ending loss to North Carolina, in which he had six points, four rebounds and one assist. John fought hard to the point that he struggled with foul trouble—he had four fouls in the first half alone.
Results relative to expectations: Although John did not get the same opportunities as he did at Marquette, where he averaged 26.3 minutes per game in his final year, he did contribute when called upon. The big man improved as a player, which was evident as head coach Mike Krzyzewski trusted him in Duke’s big rivalry game in New Orleans. However, the Blue Zone projected John to put up bigger numbers, with just under two times as many points per game and much more playing time. However, given the minutes that he received, he did perform up to par with expectations.
Often, John was put into the game with the intention of giving Williams a break. Even though the veteran did not get as many minutes as initially expected, that was likely due to Williams being the stronger player. John was consistent from the field throughout the year, shooting 100% from the floor in 13 different games.
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