Leading up to his first official visit, four-star 2017 center Theo John knew he didn’t want to commit. As he walked around the Norman campus on a trip to Oklahoma barely a month after he received an offer from the Sooners, there were plenty of thoughts that ran through his head.
He was very excited, hosted by freshman Christian James, and thought constantly about what the Sooners had to offer and what he can do to help them improve.
“I really liked it,” said 6-foot-9 John, who 13.9 points and 10.6 rebounds as a junior. “They did have a lot to offer for me.”
After spending a lot of time with the team and fully recognizing “the family” around the program, John said the bar has been set for any future visits.
“From this weekend, it just kind of had that standard,” he said when asked about what he learned this weekend moving forward. “The bar was kind of set. It was my first official. So, now I know what to expect if I go on any other officials. I’ll have something to compare them to.”
John, who made the trip with his mother and father, spent a lot of time with forwards Jamuni McNeace and Khadeem Lattin and attended the Red-White game Saturday before visiting coach Lon Kruger’s house.
A close family friend, who routinely works out John, also came on the visit.
“They loved it,” John said of his parents’ experience on the visit. “They got to spend a lot of time with the coaches and the coaches’ family. Saturday, we went up to coach Lon’s house, and it’s huge. He lives on a farm. My mom got to be with the horses and stuff.”
John holds offers from Minnesota, Marquette, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Texas Tech and Kansas State among others. He said he has no other scheduled visits after thanking his mother for getting the trip to Oklahoma put together so quickly. He still wants to wait until after the EYBL season this summer before moving forward with his recruitment.
But he forged a connection in Norman this weekend, one that gave him a measuring stick for future official visits.
John and Oklahoma assistant coach Chris Crutchfield, his primary recruiter, have always been close. Crutchfield asked one of John’s best friends, Xavier Bonner, about John when Oklahoma was starting to recruit him, John said.
The team gave him a similar feeling.
“You can tell they are all like brothers,” John said. “They all have each others’ back. It’s a tight circle. It’s them and a few football guys, but besides that, their circle is real tight. But they are also good with all the fans and all the supporters. They are very respected around the campus. You could see that just walking around with them.”
John said the connection enhanced in a tight-knit atmosphere that was close to what John is looking for in a school.
“It was cool,” John said. “I was brought in by them. I felt like family, and I was only there for three days.”