Unfortunately for St. John’s basketball supporters, the player many fans call “Oblockpa” won’t be donning the red and white next season.
St. John’s announced Thursday that sophomore center Chris Obekpa, who finished second in all of college basketball with four blocks-per-game in 2013, has been granted his release from the school and will be transferring.
It is not known what school the Nigerian-born big man will be taking his talents to, but Baylor and Oregon are two universities that are rumored to have interest.
In accordance with NCAA transfer rules, Obekpa will most likely be forced to sit out one season at his new school.
St. John’s also announced Thursday that bench player and three-point specialist Max Hooper, who is graduating in May, will look to attend graduate school and continue his playing career at another institution.
“We wish Chris good luck as he moves toward his next opportunity,” Red Storm coach Steve Lavin said in a statement. “We wish Max the best of luck in all of his future endeavors.”
Obekpa and Hooper aren’t the only members of the Johnnies to be departing St. John’s early, as sophomore JaKarr Sampson announced last month that he will forgo his final two years of eligibility to enter the NBA Draft in June.
While the move wasn’t shocking, it came as a surprise to basketball experts who believe Sampson’s skills need more fine-tuning at the college level.
The Ohio native is projected to be drafted towards the end of the second round, if he’s even selected at all.
The departures of Obekpa and Sampson, both key starters, leaves a gaping hole in the Red Storm’s roster, but unlike previous seasons, St. John’s doesn’t have a solid recruiting class coming to school.
However, Lavin has been recruiting Christ the King center Adonis Delarosa hard this spring. Other schools like Pittsburgh and Fordham have expressed interest in Delarosa, who will make his college decision on April 18.
Delarosa’s older brother, Joey, is already enrolled at St. John’s and is expected to suit up for the Red Storm next season.