St. John's Signees Obekpa, Balamou Cleared by NCAA | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / December 6.
  • St. John’s Signees Obekpa, Balamou Cleared by NCAA

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    St. John’s signees Chris Obekpa and Felix Balamou were both cleared by the NCAA to play basketball in the 2012-13 season.

    “Chris and Felix were both academically cleared by the Eligibility Center,” Our Savior New American assistant Eric Jaklitsch told SNY.tv.

    The news was confirmed by a source at St. John’s, who expects all of the team’s incoming players to be cleared.

    A year ago, three St. John’s frosh — Norvel Pelle, Amir Garrett and JaKarr Sampson — were declared academically ineligible by the NCAA.

    The 6-foot-9 Obekpa, ranked as a consensus Top 20 center by national recruiting services, should be a key defensive presence for the Johnnies.

    “Chris is one of the more unique talents I have recruited in my coaching career,” said head coach Steve Lavin. “His stellar shot blocking abilities are as exceptional as any I’ve seen at this particular stage of a player’s development. Chris brings a game-changing defensive presence and competitive spirit that will give us an edge. He has consistently demonstrated a high degree of intelligence with his unselfish approach to the game at both ends of the court. He is an excellent fit for our baseline-to-baseline attacking style of play.”

    Balamou is an athletic, but raw 6-3 wing who will learn behind players like Garrett, Sir’Dominic Pointer and D’Angelo Harrison.

    “Felix is an explosive athlete with a fierce will and determination to compete at the highest levels of basketball,” said Lavin. “His athleticism, slashing ability and defensive prowess fit well with our baseline-to-baseline attacking style of play. Felix has shown marked improvement over this past year. His best days of basketball are clearly ahead of him.”



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.