Duke basketball striking gold: What to expect from Theo John

Duke basketball transfer Theo John (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Duke basketball transfer Theo John (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Theo John could be huge in Duke basketball pursuing a sixth national title.

Although Duke basketball recruiting classes are regularly among the best in the country, as the program is bringing in a top-three class for the eighth straight season, the Blue Devils potentially struck gold with the acquisition of former Marquette forward Theo John.

When looking at the depth chart, prior to the commitment from John, there was a clear weak spot at the center position. Mark Williams is the consensus pick to get that starting nod in his sophomore campaign, but with the addition of John, the Blue Devils get a former starting center to be their backup.

In four seasons as a Golden Eagle, he tallied career splits of 5.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 57.5 percent from the field. While his play has remained consistent throughout, John’s best year as a college player was his senior year. He averaged 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game last season, being Marquette’s anchor on defense.

What John provides for the Blue Devils could be exactly what Duke needs to get over the edge.

What does the Duke basketball transfer bring to the Blue Devils?

Theo John is the ideal backup big for the 2021-22 Duke basketball team as it is currently constructed. He’s a low-maintenance player who doesn’t demand touches to leave his mark on the game.

His bulky 6-foot-9 frame gives him the ability to set hard screens and allow for multiple pick-and-roll opportunities. The ballhandler can dump it into John rolling to the basket, potentially opening up perimeter shooting opportunities if the defense collapses, or the ballhandler can create offense depending on the space the defense gives.

All that is possible from John’s ability to set screens.

He might not provide offense at a high clip, but John can get a basket when needed. Multiple times he would serve as a bailout for Marquette, as his teammates would pass it into him for a post hook.

John’s patience when assessing the way the defense reacts is arguably the 22-year-old’s most underrated skill.

With a star-studded team like Duke has in store, John fits great due to the fact that he doesn’t take touches away from the main sources of offense, likely being Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, and Trevor Keels. He’s a back-to-the-basket big who plays defense, grabs rebounds, and sets hard screens. So he’s an ideal complement to a star, which is what Banchero seems bound to become.

The frequent reserves will most likely be Jaylen Blakes, Wendell Moore, Joey Baker, and Theo John.

ALSO READ: What Duke fans should expect from Jaylen Blakes

With those four in the game, this bench-laden lineup alone has the potential to overpower some starting fives in the ACC. The Blue Devils could be looking at their own “bench mob.”

Next. Duke's most lethal defensive lineup next season. dark

Given the way Duke basketball is built for this upcoming season, it’s safe to say that last season’s 13-11 record definitely won’t be replicated.