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St. John's shot blocker Chris Obekpa suspended for two exhibitions

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Shortly before St. John's began its Midnight Madness festivities on Friday night, the school sent out a release: Chris Obekpa wouldn't be attending the Red Storm Tip-Off and was suspended for their two exhibition games.

The sophomore center violated St. John's university policy.

"As a coach you try and teach your players that choices and judgments are an important part of life and so appropriately there are consequences that are tied to those choices," head coach Steve Lavin told media on Friday. "I think it will be a valuable learning experience for Chris. That's where the focus is on, the lesson and opportunity to understand that there is a responsibility that comes with representing this basketball program and University."

Obekpa, a 6-foot-9 native of Nigeria, was arguably the best shot-blocker in the country last season, averaging better than four swats per game. He set a Big East record with 133 blocks as a freshman, including a school-record 11 blocks against Fordham in December.

St. John's opens its season against Wisconsin in South Dakota on Nov. 8. Obekpa will be reinstated for that game.

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