Chris Obekpa

St. John’s loses Chris Obekpa for 10-14 days with ankle injury

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On Monday, St. John’s sophomore center Chris Obekpa was diagnosed with a sprain and bone bruise in his right ankle after suffering an injury during practice. On Tuesday, St. John’s announced he could be sidelined for up to two weeks.

“Chris is a central part of what we do on both ends of the court. Our team will have to step up collectively in his absence,” St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said in a statement. “Chris is not only an outstanding defender with shot blocking prowess but his recent offensive contributions have been a significant part of our team’s success. One of our team’s strengths is depth so we are confident in our front line players’ ability to see us through this challenging stretch.”

Despite starting Big East play 0-5, the Johnnies’ NCAA tournament hopes are very much alive. Obekpa, who is averaging 4.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game, is one of the top rim protectors in the nation with his 7-5 wingspan. He’s been a key part of the Red Storm’s improved defense, which has led to eight wins in their last nine games.

The current streak doesn’t assure anything for St. John’s, which is currently slotted in the First Four in the latest edition of College Basketball Talk’s Bracketology.

St. John’s will need to boost its resume before Selection Sunday, which can happen with five games remaining in conference play. The Red Storm travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to take on No. 9 Villanova and will be back at home next Tuesday against Xavier, another team on the bubble.

Though, both of those games will be without the services of the 6-foot-9 Obekpa.

St. John’s hosts Butler at 9 p.m. on Tuesday night.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.