ARLINGTON, Texas — St. John’s sophomore big man Chris Obekpa has been granted a release and will transfer.
The 6-foot-9 Obekpa would be the second big man to leave the program since the Johnnies lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris. Sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson previously declared for the NBA Draft. Guard Max Hooper, who graduates in May, will also transfer.
“We wish Chris good luck as he moves toward his next opportunity,” head coach Steve Lavin said in a statement after the news was previously reported by SNY.tv. “Max graduates in May with a degree in psychology and will look to continue his education and playing career at another institution. We wish Max the best of luck in all of his future endeavors.”
Obekpa averaged 3.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.0 blocks this past season, but played just 2 minutes in the loss to Providence in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals. He then played 11 minutes in the loss to Robert Morris.
Obekpa will be highly sought after because of his shot-blocking abilities. He is projected as the No. 46 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.
St. John’s will need to add several frontcourt pieces for the 2014-15 season and beyond.
Adonis Delarosa, a 6-foot-10 big man from Christ the King, is set to announce his college choice on April 18 and is considering St. John’s, Pittsburgh, South Carolina and others. He visited Pitt last week and enjoyed it.
Joey Delarosa, the 6-11 older brother of Adonis, is currently enrolled at St. John’s after transferring from FIU, and will likely be eligible at Christmas, a source told SNY.tv.
Should both Delarosa brothers join the St. John’s roster, it would effectively give them two 7-footers going forward.
Also, Keith Thomas, a 6-8 forward from Westchester Community College who averaged 15.3 points and 15.7 rebounds this past season, took an unofficial to St. John’s this week and is due to take an official later this month, the source said.