Approximately two weeks ago, it looked to be a foregone conclusion that St. John’s rising junior center Chris Obekpa was going to transfer in the immediate future.
St. John’s announces that Chris Obekpa has received his release. Long line expected for him.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 3, 2014
However, after a 15-day odyssey that included multiple meetings with St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin and a full survey of the places where he could potentially transfer, the school announced that Obekpa is staying on campus for his junior season.
“I’ve had good conversations with Coach Lavin over the past week. After giving consideration to transferring it’s become clear that it makes the most sense to continue my career as a student-athlete at St. John’s. I will do whatever is necessary to win back the trust of my coaches, teammates and our fans. My brothers and I have unfinished business and I am determined to help St. John’s continue the climb up the mountain.”
This is a huge coup for the St. John’s program, and most likely, a nice move for Obekpa. The 6-foot-9 big man was certainly coveted by other programs, but he would have been forced to sit out a season if he left campus, and under Lavin, his offensive game (Obekpa averaged only 3.8 points per game as a sophomore) can develop. Defensively, the young big man is elite as a shot blocker (2.9 blocks per game despite limited minutes), and that one elite skill could bring him to a professional career one day.
For now, this is a win for both parties, and hopefully, they can blossom their partnership.