Peter Jok Willing To Listen To Coach Groce

The Fighting Illini basketball team was recruiting a top Iowa player for the past couple years. But he suffered a serious knee injury that slowed his development, and the Illini have now changed coaches. Still, if new Illini coach John Groce is interested, Peter Jok is willing to listen.

Peter Jok is a junior from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa. After suffering a torn patella at the Nike Hoop Jamboree before his sophomore season, he has yet to fully recover. A recent surgery on his knee has him sidelined, and he is in no rush to return to action.

"Therapy is going pretty good. I came back too early with my high school season, so that ended up setting me back a little. Now, I'm just taking my time to get it stronger and right. My therapist said if I keep doing what I'm doing with my exercises and working hard at them, I should be fully back by June."

A knee injury is serious, as Jok has experienced. It limited many things he was previously able to do. But with proper therapy and rest, he doesn't believe the injury will have a major impact on him in the future.

"If anything, I won't be as explosive as I used to be. But my therapist said I should feel good and ready by June. So I'm not really worried about the injury affecting me too much."

Even with limits, he helped lead Roosevelt to a state tournament berth.

"The season didn't go as good as I wanted for myself. I wasn't able to do certain things because I didn't have my explosiveness, so I kind of turned into more of just a shooter and posted up sometimes. I just didn't have my full game.

"But my team did pretty well. We made it to state but lost in the first round to a team that made it to the state finals."

He wants to continue that success next season but take it a notch higher by making it to the state finals. He's confident his team can achieve that goal.

"I would say it's a pretty high chance we can make it to the state finals next year. We lost three seniors that played quite a bit, but we had a lot of juniors that played a lot as well. I just want to be healthy so I can do more for my team and our hopes of winning state."

The AAU season has just begun across the country. Jok belongs to the All Iowa Attack organization and believes playing AAU basketball has been a blessing to him.

"It just improves my game; playing against other best players around the country always gets you better. Also, it gave me opportunities to get looked at by colleges and get scholarships. Plus, I just love traveling around the country too."

Jok discussed several things he wants to happen during the AAU season.

"I want to get healthy during the season so I can get back to how I used to play and get my full game back. I want to keep improving and get better so we can win the big tourneys in July."

Although his recruitment has been slowed because of injury, he is still receiving attention from many schools.

"I don't know all of them; my guardian knows them all. But the ones I know are Iowa, Creighton, Kansas, Xavier, Clemson, Marquette, Minnesota, Illinois was, K-State, Penn State, and there's more I don't know about."

The 6'-5", 205-pound combo guard shared some strengths in his game.

"When I get fully healthy, I would say my strengths are shooting, attacking the basket and being able to post up as a guard."

He also explained several aspects of his game he wants to improve.

"I would say dribbling and defense. I'm still improving on everything though."

Jok built a good relationship with former Illinois coach Bruce Weber. He was saddened to find out Weber was fired.

"Me and Coach Weber were pretty close. So I was just really surprised when I heard about it. He's at K-State now, and I'm happy for him."

Jok admitted he knows very little about new Illini head coach John Groce. But he heard Groce coaches an up-tempo style and allows his players the freedom to play to their strengths. Jok finds that attractive, and although he doesn't know if Illinois will continue to recruit him, he remains interested in the Illini.

"That's how my AAU coach coaches, so I like it. I'm still open to everyone, so I'll definitely still come down and check it out."


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