2017 PF on His Illinois Offer

Howard Pulley PF Theo John has the physical tools to be special, and has received several offers. One of those offers most recently was from the Illini, who he discussed with IlliniPlaybook.

One of the most athletic post players in the Midwest in the 2017 class is Champlin (MN) Champlin Park PF Theo John. The Howard Pulley Panther is playing a year up this year with the 17U team and is learning a lot about his game at a young age.

"It’s good to be out there and see the other talent in the country,” John said, "I’m working on my weaknesses this summer. You get exposed out there sometimes, and if it’s a weakness, you have to attack it."

Playing up a year means that John will take his lumps from time to time from more experienced players, but the learning experience will pay off in the long run when he returns next year as a more experienced player.

"I’ll just be used to playing against bigger, stronger guys,” he said. "They trick you sometimes using footwork and things like that, but next year I’ll get to do that against people my age. It’s nice to be able to play against the older guys."

One are of John’s game in which he particularly takes pride is his defensive presence. He hangs his hat on being a stopper in the lane and shutting down his opponents.

"I take it personally when my man scores,” John said. "I don’t want anybody scoring in the paint. If you put up a floater or something, I’m going to try to get it."

The athletic power forward already holds a handful of offers, and that list is sure to expand before too long. One of those offers, most recently, is from the Illini.

"Illinois, Texas Tech, Iowa, Minnesota, Marquette, and Nebraska have offered,” he said. "I’m not sure who else might offer this summer."

John has visited a handful of schools so far in his recruitment. And while he doesn’t immediately have any plans to see any schools in the near future, he did say that he would like to visit Illinois at some point.

"I’ve taken visits to Wisconsin, Creighton, Marquette, Minnesota,” he said, "and that’s all so far this spring."

John has a close tie to another recently-offered Illinois target and high school teammate in 2017 PG McKinley Wright. The duo both received their respective offers within a couple hours of each other.

"I was with my best friend McKinley Wright earlier when he got offered by Illinois, and I was celebrating with him since that was his first,” John explained. "Then an hour or two later I got the call."

John admitted that he wasn’t all that familiar with Illinois yet, but says he’s eager to learn more about the school moving forward now with an offer in hand.

"I don’t know much about Illinois yet,” he said. "I know they’re a great college and they have a lot of history. I want to see how they can develop me and academically what they’re about."

John said he was looking a good fit and good relationships with the players and wants to know that he will come out of college a far better player and person than when he entered.

"I’m looking at who will develop me the best academically, and both on and off the court,” he said. "I want to be with some great guys. I want to be cool with my teammates and hang out with them."

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