UNLV has grabbed another coveted transfer, as former St. John’s forward Chris Obekpa announced he is transferring to UNLV via Instagram.
The New York Post reported that Obekpa left St. John’s this summer in part because head coach Chris Mullin was too strict. Obekpa will have to sit out this upcoming season and will have one year of eligibility left for the 2016-17 season.
Last year at St. John’s, Obekpa averaged a career high 5.8 points and 6.9 rebounds. He shot just 48.9 percent from the field in his three years with the Red Storm – and 45.9 percent from the free-throw line.
But Obekpa didn’t start 24 games last season because of his offense. The 6-foot-10 big man registered 3.1 blocks per game last season, fifth best in the country. His block percentage of 11.9 ranked 17th and was the lowest rate of his career. He ranked second in the country in each of his first two season at St. John’s in block percentage.
As a team St. John’s ranked 58th in the country in opponents’ field goal percentage at the rim. In that same category, UNLV came in fifth, holding the opposition to just 48.2 percent on shots at the rim, per hoop-math.com.
Obekpa isn’t a rebound extraordinaire like he is at swatting shots, but his 17.8 defensive rebounding percentage would have been second best on UNLV last season. Cleaning up the glass was a major issue for the Rebels, and Obekpa – even though it is a year away – will provide relief on the boards.
For the upcoming season, it appears that Justin Jackson will now stay at Findlay Prep for one more season before coming over to UNLV. The forward could have reclassified into the current class, but Obekpa will likely be taking UNLV’s last scholarship.
It also means that Obekpa will serve the role that Ben Carter filled last season. Carter couldn’t contribute in games as a redshirt, but Dave Rice praised him throughout the season for his ability to push the team in practice with effort. Rice will have another quality big man for his scout team in 2015-16.