St. John’s loses starting center to a two-week suspension

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St. John’s announced on Sunday that starting center Chris Obekpa will be suspended for two weeks for a violation of team rules.

“Chris has been suspended for a violation of team rules,” said head coach Steve Lavin in a release. “All of the young men associated with our program are held to standards consistent with the aims and mission of our University. Accountability is tied to the decision making of our student-athletes. It is our hope Chris will learn from this experience.”

The timing of this suspension could not possibly be worse. Today is Selection Sunday, meaning that Obekpa will be out until March 29th, which is the final day of the Elite 8. It’s a long shot that the Johnnies will make it that far without Obekpa, who is one of the nation’s best shot-blockers, meaning that he is effectively done for the year.

St. John’s is 21-11 on the season and lost to Providence in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. They’re projected as a No. 8 seed in our latest bracket.

What’s also curious here: St. John’s sent out this release a little more than three hours before the brackets are to be released. Why not wait? The Selection Committee is going to have to take this into consideration, and it could — should — hurt seeding for the Red Storm.

Wait four hours — or until Monday — to make this announcement and that’s not even a question.