Sunday, March 15, 2015

St. John's suspends starting C Chris Obekpa for two weeks: Report

One of the best shot blockers in the country might have just swatted away St. John's chances at making the NCAA Tournament.

St. John's coach Steve Lavin announced on Sunday afternoon junior center Chris Obekpa will be suspended for two weeks, citing a violation of team rules — just hours before the selection committee decides which at-large teams will be invited to the tournament, reported CBS Sports.

"If St. John's were to advance in the postseason, Obekpa would not be available for the Red Storm's games prior to March 29," according to the school. 

And if the suspension plays a factor in the committee's decision to omit St. John's from the tournament, it means the 2015 senior class of Red Storm players will have never had played a single game in The Big Dance during their four years at the university.

Not to mention Lavin's first time at the Queens school with his own recruiting class.

"All of the young men associated with our program are held to standards consistent with the aims and mission of our university," Lavin said in a statement. "Accountability is tied to the decision making of our student-athletes. It is our hope Chris will learn from this experience."

But Red Storm fans couldn't believe the timing:

Entering Sunday, the Johnnies were slotted as a No. 8 seed by bracketologist Jerry Palm.

The 6-foot-10 Obekpa averaged 7.0 rebounds, 5.8 points and 3.2 blocks, his rejects per game was fifth-best in the country. St. John's is 21-11 this season and lost in the Big East quarterfinals on Thursday to Providence.

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