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.
Obekpa to Return to St. John’s; Big Recruiting Weekend for Johnnies (UPDATED)
St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin announced on Friday that sophomore center Chris Obekpa will return to the Red Storm team for the 2014-15 season.
The big man had been granted a release from the school to transfer on April 3. With Obekpa on the roster, the Red Storm projects to return 11 letterwinners for next year’s campaign.
Despite losing JaKarr Sampson to the NBA Draft and Orlando Sanchez to graduation, St. John’s has a strong core for next season now with Obekpa, guards Rysheed Jordan, Phil Greene, Jamal Branch and D’Angelo Harrison and wing Sir’Dominic Pointer.
“Chris approached me last week to communicate his change of heart and wishes to stay at St. John’s,” Johnnies coach Steve Lavin said in a statement. “After good dialogue we are pleased to announce Chris will continue his career as a student-athlete with the Red Storm.”
“I’ve had good conversations with Coach Lavin over the past week. After giving consideration to transferring it’s become clear that it makes the most sense to continue my career as a student-athlete at St. John’s,” said Obekpa. “I will do whatever is necessary to win back the trust of my coaches, teammates and our fans. My brothers and I have unfinished business and I am determined to help St. John’s continue the climb up the mountain.”
Meantime, as it endeavors to add recruits to the 2014 class, St. John’s will host several recruits this weekend and in the future. Here’s a quick rundown.
**Josh Cunningham, a 6-7 small forward from Chicago Morgan Park (pictured), will visit unofficially this weekend. “They have been recruiting him for a while,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin told SNY.tv. “He’s familiar with them.” Cunningham is also reportedly considering South Carolina, Bradley, Creighton, DePaul, Indiana, Iowa State and Minnesota and will announce “next week,” he said on Twitter. Cunningham is in town for the Jordan Brand Classic.
**Keith Thomas, a 6-8 forward from Westchester Community College, will take an official on Monday. He also recently visited Loyola-Chicago. For more read here.
**Lou Adams Jr., a 6-3 shooting guard from Chicago Orr, may visit this weekend. He is also supposed to visit Monroe (N.Y.) College and would be eligible for D-1 in 2015 or ’16.
**Marlon Jones, a 6-8 forward from Chicago Orr, and Adom Jacko of Chaffey (CA) College, may visit at later dates. For more on Jones, click here.
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.