Theo John’s final year at Marquette might have been shortened and injury hampered, but he was still great.
By now, you should be more than familiar with our series of regularly updating leaderboards for various Marquette Golden Eagles sports accomplishments. Keep checking back to that link in the previous sentence for our charts as the seasons continue to churn through history and MU’s various teams continue to create new memories and accomplishments.
Here, we’re going to add a postscript to a season and a career by highlighting Theo John and how many blocks he registered as a senior by taking a look at the all-time top 10 for blocked shots by a Marquette senior.
John recorded 40 blocks in his final and pandemic shortened and injury hampered senior season at Marquette. Even with all of those qualifying statements, John still tied Marcus Jackson and Walter Downing for the sixth most blocked shots by a Marquette senior and nearly tied Ousmane Barro for the fifth most. That’s wildly impressive if it was a normal season much less one that wasn’t quite what John wanted it to be.
The big man from Minnesota did all of that in 27 games. In 1994, Jim McIlvaine blocked 142 shots in only 33 games. Just six more games than John played this past year…….. and 102 more blocks. I know that this is the case, I know that Mac blocked a metric ton of shots, I know that it’s probable that no one is ever going to break his career record, but man, I am just in awe every single time I read it or type it out.
Just three seasons later, Faisal Abraham would average — AVERAGE — 2.8 blocks per game…. and he would only get to 84 blocks on the season. Nearly three rejections per contest, and he barely got within 60 of McIlvaine’s senior season while becoming just the second Marquette senior to ever record 60 blocks at all! That’s WILD.
When Luke Fischer had 53 blocks in 2017, he became just the fourth senior to have 50 blocks ever, and the first in 20 years! That’s also wild! We don’t spend enough time talking about how rare great shot blockers — or even very good ones! — have been throughout Marquette history. Part of this might be that Walter Downing’s 1986 season is the oldest one in the top 10 largely because the NCAA didn’t start tracking blocked shots until that 1985-86 season. Shouts to Walter Downing for establishing the mark in the first year and then holding it down against all but five other guys since!
Here’s what the chart looks like at the end of the 2020-21 season.