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The St. John’s men’s basketball team granted sophomore forward Chris Obekpa his release this past Thursday afternoon to pursue transfer opportunities. The 6-foot-9 forward was a superior post presence for the Red Storm as he leaves the Johnnies as the schools all-time blocks leader with 227 career blocks—a feat he accomplished in only two years of play.
“We wish Chris good luck as he moves toward his next opportunity,” St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said.
Wherever Obekpa chooses to go to school for the 2014-15 academic year, he will not be able to play basketball because of the NCAA transfer rules.
Obekpa’s defensive presence is something that cannot be denied as in his freshman year, he was able to lead the nation with 4.03 blocks per game. Obekpa also led the Big East in blocks for both of the years he played in the conference.
Where Obekpa’s game will have to improve is on the offensive end. Obekpa is still relatively unseasoned on the offensive side of things as he only averaged 3.8 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game this past season.
The departure of Obekpa makes him the third player in the last two weeks to willingly leave St. John’s as forward JaKarr Sampson declared for the NBA Draft and G/F Max Hooper will also be looking for transfer opportunities after finishing up his degree at St. John’s.
St. John’s will definitely miss Obekpa’s presence and athleticism in the paint as the Red Storm will now have to do some late recruiting or look in-house, most likely to sophomore forward Christian Jones, to replace Obekpa.
With other rumors swirling around the media about other departures, Lavin and Co. can only hope that the rest of the roster stays intact for this upcoming season or the Red Storm could be in for a long 2014-15 campaign.