Official Visit Preview: Isaiah Washington & Theo John

This weekend Minnesota welcomes four star point guard Isaiah Washington and three star center Theo John to campus for official visits.

This weekend Minnesota welcomes four star point guard Isaiah Washington and three star center Theo John to campus for official visits. With two scholarships to give (would they take three commits?) and needing a point guard and a big, the Gophers have top targets on campus this weekend.

Rank: 4 star player ranked 65th in the nation, 13th at his position, and he’s the top point guard in New York.

Recruiting:  Leaders – Minnesota and Seton Hall.  Other Offers – Butler, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Providence, St. John’s, Cincinnati, Texas A&M, etc.

Washington on last Minnesota Visit (June, 2016):  It was better than expected.  Minnesota is a really nice place, and it was a great trip overall.  All of the coaches are the same, they are real cool. Like (Coach Kimani Young) they all showed me a lot of attention and I built a good relationship with all of them.

Washington on Minnesota: “I like the way they just let their guards just play.  I have a good relationship with the coach and I believe I would do well if I would ever go there.” National Analysis on Washington:  “2017 guard Isaiah Washington is a tough, quick and aggressive lead man that can both score it and facilitate. Washington, who stands 6-foot-1, is average athletically, but he has a quick first step, is a strong ball handler and finds ways to get by defenders and get into the paint. Once there he looks to kick to teammates, pull-up for mid-range jumpers or drop in floaters. Although Washington is able to make shots from distance, an area for improvement is gaining consistency with his three-point shot.”

GI Analysis on Washington:  “The first word I would use to describe Isaiah is “pace”.  With Washington a fast break always seems to be imminent.  He loves to push but never wastes a moment.  His full court outlets, 3-4 dribble attacks into the perfect timed zip to the cutter, and the rapid outlets were all regular sites.  Also consistent was Washington’s push to the rim.  He showed the ability to stop on a dime to lift into his pull-up, there were attacks on either side of the rim finished over bigger defenders, and several kick-outs that found feet set shooters in space, or cutters hit with a zipping assist.  Washington is outstanding using the pick and roll as he hits top speed quickly and can react to the defensive movement with a burst before defenders can slide to the spot or hit a pull-up.  One of the best hesitation dribbles we’ve seen and he will use it off the ball screen, after a reversal, or in the open floor.  Has an explosive shooting touch from range that needs to be more hit with more consistency game to game.  Has the capability to be a nightmare on-ball defender when motivated to be that type of player.  It was seen in Vegas at times and even in the Elite 24 all star game in the form of ball pressure and zone traps.

GI Gut Feel:  Washington has been here recently and he’s been a player they have been targeting now for over two years.  He was on the campus once already so there is already a comfort level.  Now the still will be going for the commitment.  Will they get it this weekend? There is definitely a chance that it could happen and our gut feel says they could definitely get it considering they are his first visit and the only visit scheduled.

Rank: 3 star rated prospect, 29th rated center in the country

Recruiting:  Leaders – Minnesota, Marquette, Oklahoma, and Cal.  Other Offers – Purdue, Illinois, Florida, Iowa, Kansas State, Maryland, Nebraska, etc

What Theo Said Tonight: “Oh I’m really looking forward to my visit.  I know I’ve seen all these buildings many times but when you are on your official visit it’s different because you an get to meet the people who work in them.”

Theo on last Minnesota:  Minnesota is home.  I would be able to workout with people I know and people that I have been working with and being able to play for your hometown in front of family and friends would be pretty cool. The coaches are great guys, they know what they are doing moving forward.   They are doing a good job of getting to their guys and telling them what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s expected from them on and off the court.  They seem to know what they are doing with their plans moving forward.”

Theo on last Minnesota visit (June, 2016): It was a visit somewhat to Minnesota.  I met with the coaches in their offices and stuff.  Coach Pitino and his staff had a talk with me and my family about all the things that have happened and how they are going to move forward from that. They talked to me about how they would use me on the team.  It was more of a meeting than it was a visit.”

GI Analysis on Theo:  Theo John reminds me of John Thomas in so many ways starting with the fact that both are local Twin Cities kids with Theo being from Champlin, Minnesota and John Thomas being from Minneapolis who was a Roosevelt graduate in 1993.  They had similar builds in high school, similar agility, similar strength, and were in similar spots with their game entering their senior years.  Right now the top part of Theo’s game is his defensive ability as he is definitely one of the best shot blockers and low post defenders you will see.  Theo is a very hard worker who lifts and works on basketball skill with a trainer daily.  His low post game has become more versatile in terms of his position, shoulder turn, pivot, and face-up, he just needs to get more comfortable with everything.  John gets off the ground fast and he runs the floor better than most bigs.  Theo still has a ways to go in terms of his offensive game but he will be able to defend at a high level early in his college career and as long as he keeps working his offensive game will come too.  Also, a very high character kid who is regarded as one of the best young men in Minnesota high school basketball.

GI Gut Feel:  Right now we feel it’s between Minnesota and Marquette as we think Theo wants to stay pretty close to home as he has younger siblings and is close to his parents.  John has a strong interest in Minnesota but the Gopher staff has to sell him and his family that the bad happenings of the spring and the rough 15-16 season are a thing of the past. If they can the Gophers have a good shot.

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