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Sophomore center Chris Obekpa will remain at St. John’s

Apr 18, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT

Chris Obekpa Getty Images

After initially being granted a release to transfer from St. John’s on April 3rd, sophomore center Chris Obekpa has had a change of heart and the school announced on Friday that the 6-foot-9 big man will return for his junior season.

“Chris approached me last week to communicate his change of heart and wishes to stay at St. John’s. After good dialogue we are pleased to announce Chris will continue his career as a student-athlete with the Red Storm,” head coach Steve Lavin said in the release.

Obekpa returning is huge news for St. John’s as they get one of the nation’s elite shot blockers back to man the interior. The sophomore has led the Big East in blocked shots for two consecutive seasons and was 11th nationally in blocks at 2.9 rejections a game last season.  As a freshman, Obekpa led the nation with 4.03 blocks per game.

“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,” Obekpa said in the release. “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.”

Obekpa averaged 3.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore and his return is huge for the Red Storm because they’ve already lost JaKarr Sampson to the 2014 NBA Draft and Max Hooper transferred to Oakland.