DePaul making push on recruiting trail for Our Savior shot-blocker Chris Obekpa

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With all of the big signings and impending decisions at the top of the 2012 class, let us not forget the quality players still uncommitted in the latter half of the Top 100.

That group includes Our Savior New American’s (N.Y.) Chris Obekpa, a 6-8, 225-pound forward and perhaps the best shot-blocker in the class, this side of Kentucky signee Nerlens Noel.

Obekpa is being courted by schools that include Connecticut, St. John’s, Cincinnati, Providence, and Oregon, and a source tells NBCSports.com that DePaul is making a strong push for the Nigerian native.

Oliver Purnell‘s team has a need on the defensive end of the floor, as the Blue Demons finished last in the Big East in scoring defense in 2011-12.

A shot-changer like Obekpa around the basket would be an anchor in the middle of the defense and could help improve that points against number.

Obekpa still needs work on the offensive end, but even when he is struggling from the floor, he can still make a difference with his rebounding and shot blocking.

Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv reports that Obekpa has taken official visits to St. John’s, Cincinnati, and DePaul, and unofficials to Connecticut and Providence and will take a visit to Oregon April 22-24.

As for other teams in the market for Obekpa’s services:

Mick Cronin and the Bearcats are also hot on the Obekpa trail, as they try to replace Yancy Gates’ presence in the middle.

It is unclear whether Connecticut’s ban from the 2013 NCAA tournament will have an effect on Obekpa’s decision, and Providence is another team looking to upgrade on the defensive end.

Felix Balamou, a teammate of Obekpa’s at Our Savior New American, is committed to St. John’s.

Check out highlights of Obekpa here, courtesy of City League Hoops.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_