Chris Obekpa returning to St. John's

NEW YORK -- Chris Obekpa will remain a member of the St. John's Red Storm after all.

The sophomore center, who asked for and was granted a release to transfer on April 3, has changed his mind and been welcomed back by coach Steve Lavin, the school said Friday.

"Chris approached me last week to communicate his change of heart and wishes to stay at St. John's," Lavin said in a statement. "After good dialogue we are pleased to announce Chris will continue his career as a student-athlete with the Red Storm."

Said Obekpa, "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."

Obekpa averaged just 3.8 points and 4.8 rebounds this past season but was 19th in the nation in blocked shots with 2.9 per game. As a freshman, he led Division I in that category (4.0 a game). With 227, he already is St. John's all-time leader in blocks.

The Red Storm appeared in desperate need of front-court help without Obekpa and fellow sophomore Jakarr Sampson, who elected to leave school and enter the NBA draft.

Retaining Obekpa helps, particularly on the defensive end. But St. John's still lacks proven scorers at forward or center.