When St. John’s took the court for their Red Storm Tip-Off tonight they were without an important piece. Earlier Friday the school announced that sophomore center Chris Obekpa has been suspended for two games due to a violation of university policy.
The two games will be the Red Storm’s exhibitions against San Francisco State and Humboldt State, meaning that Obekpa won’t miss any regular season action as a result. As a result of the suspension Obekpa was also held out of tonight’s event.
“We expect our student-athletes to conduct themselves in a responsible manner in representing St. John’s University,” head coach Steve Lavin said in the release. “Chris understands this suspension can serve as a learning experience.”
As a freshman Obekpa was the nation’s best shot blocker, leading the country in rejections with an average of 4.0 blocks per game. His 133 for the season set records for both the school and the Big East. The good news for the Red Storm is that they will have him back when they open the regular season against Wisconsin on November 8.
The Red Storm were picked to finish 5th in the Big East this season, but with the return of all five starters (including guard D’Angelo Harrison, who was suspended for the remainder of the 2012-13 season in early March) and the addition of freshman guard Rysheed Jordan and senior forward Orlando Sanchez they have the pieces needed to outperform that prognostication.