QUEENS, N.Y.- St. John's head coach Steve Lavin announced on Friday that sophomore center Chris Obekpa will return to the Red Storm team for the 2014-15 season.
The big man had been granted a release from the school to transfer on April 3. With Obekpa on the roster, the Red Storm projects to return 11 letterwinners for next year's campaign.
"Chris approached me last week to communicate his change of heart and wishes to stay at St. John's. After good dialogue we are pleased to announce Chris will continue his career as a student-athlete with the Red Storm," said Lavin.
"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," said Obekpa. "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."
Obekpa led the BIG EAST for the second-straight year in 2013-14, and ranked tied for 11th in the nation in rejections with a 2.9 blocks per game average. In 2012-13 as a freshman, Obekpa paced all of NCAA Division I with 4.03 blocks per contest while establishing a new single-season St. John's and BIG EAST rookie mark with 133 rejections, and swatting a school-record 11 shots in the victory vs. Fordham (Dec. 8, 2012).
Obekpa's four blocks at Xavier in 2014-15 (Dec. 31) made him St. John's all-time swats leader, passing former record-holder Robert Werdann (188, 1989-92). Obekpa now totals a school-record 227 rejections in his two-year career.
In two seasons, Obekpa has averaged 3.9 points per game and 5.5 rebounds, contributing 3.8 boards and 4.8 rebounds per outing as a sophomore in 2013-14. On March 31 he was named a CollegeInsider.com 2014 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year finalist.