On Obekpa: An intimidating shotblocker and defensive game-changer ... ranked as a consensus top 100 player overall and top 20 center by national recruiting services ... craves defense but boasts an offensive post-up game as well ... a powerful and aggressive rebounder ... an outstanding finisher with a developing 15-foot jumper ... last name is pronounced "oh-BEK-puh."
Steve Lavin On Obekpa: "Chris is one of the more unique talents I have recruited in my coaching career. His stellar shot blocking abilities are as exceptional as any I've seen at this particular stage of a player's development. He brings a game-changing defensive presence that complements our style of play. He has consistently demonstrated a high degree of intelligence at both ends of the court. He is an excellent fit for our baseline-to-baseline attacking style of play."
At Our Savior New American: Led Our Savior New American school of Centereach, Long Island, N.Y., to a 25-5 record and a MaxPreps.com national Top 10 final ranking in 2011-12 ... averaged 12.0 points per game, 13.0 rebounds and 9.0 blocks per game as a senior ... named a first team All-American by the National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) ... keyed OSNA to the title in the Puerto Rico Hoops Championship in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, with a MVP effort ... named game MVP at the National High School Hoops Fest at DeMatha in Hyattsville, Md., and the Penny Hardaway Hoops Fest in Memphis, Tenn. ... participated in the All-American Classic Championship at the 2012 NCAA Final Four in New Orleans, La., as part of the victorious East Squad following his senior season ... attended the Jordan Brand International camp in Istanbul, Turkey, in February, 2010 ... participated in the NBA "Basketball Without Borders" camp in South Africa in August, 2010, before becoming a starter on the Nigerian Under-16 national team ... arrived in the U.S. in Sept. of 2010 and keyed OSNA to a 17-10 record as a junior in 2010-11, averaging 10.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 5.0 bpg ... in his first scholastic season in the U.S., he was named MVP at the Flyin' to the Hoop Tournament in Dayton, Ohio, the Texas Classic in Houston, Texas, and the Scholastic Play-by-Play Shootout in Chapel Hill, N.C. ... authored a standout performance at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, during the summer of 2011 ... named to the U.S. East Team for the Nike Global Challenge in Portland, Ore. ... a two-sport athlete, he also played sweeper on OSNA's soccer team and was named the squad's defensive MVP.
Personal: Christopher Ewaoche Obekpa ... born in Benue State, Nigeria ... son of Alizabeth Ameh and Prince Gabriel Obekpa ... is one of 10 children ... has six sisters, Nancy, Onyeje (Maura), Ebowo (Ruth), Martha, Rose and Emmanuella, and three brothers, Ofu, Daniel and Joseph ... brother, Ofu, played basketball and soccer at the University of Maine at Machias ... majoring in liberal studies.
Up Close With Chris Obekpa
Nickname: The Game Changer, Airwatchman.
Favorite movie/TV show: "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Martin."
Favorite actor/actress: Johnny Depp and Tichina Arnold.
What's on my iPod/mp3 player: Reggae, R&B and Rap.
Favorite food: Rice (all kinds).
Favorite class: Discover New York.
Favorite book: "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.
After St. John's or after basketball career I'd like to: Be able to help the less-privileged and sick around me and the world in general.
If I could have dinner with three people (history or today): My family.
What do you want to accomplish this season: Be the best rebounder and BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year.
Favorite quote: "Never think you are good enough because there is always room for improvement."
Superstitions/pregame rituals: 10 minutes of meditation.
If I was President for the day I would: Donate to all real charity organizations and reach out to the families of the military troops that are outside the country trying to bring peace.
The teammate that inspires me most: Phil Greene IV.
If I could switch places for a day with any person (real or fictional) I'd be: Capt. Jack Sparrow. (I just love this. I`d act as a funny pirate, too. "Arrrrrrrrr!")
If I wasn't playing basketball I'd be: Studying to become a man that can reach out to others in times of need.
Hero/role model(s): My father.
Favorite athlete/sports team: Ben Wallace and the Miami Heat.
Favorite St. John's athlete: Phil Greene IV.
I came to St. John's because: Of the diversity.
One word to describe me on the court: "Tenacious."
One word to describe me off the court: "Funny."
The St. John's basketball player that will surprise you this year: Phil Greene IV.