Chris Obekpa, Big East Rookie of the Week

USA TODAY Sports

The Nigerian defensive stopper also known as Oblockpa and Airwatchman and Gamechanger is recognized for his play despite an 0-2 week by St. John's basketball.

Move over, JaKarr Sampson. St. John's other notable newcomer is getting in on the award haul.

Chris Obekpa, St. John's 6'9" shotblocker extraordinaire, current owner of the Red Storm's single season record in blocked shots with 82 for the season (breaking Walter Berry's mark), wins the Big East Rookie of the Week honor.

Obekpa averaged just under 35 minutes for the Johnnies in the two games, blocking 11 shots. His defense has allowed St. John's to cut down on two-point shooting, an aspect of the game that hurt St. John's chances last season.

But Obekpa has improved his defense in recent weeks, adding defensive rebounding to his repetoire. Obekpa grabbed 21 boards in the two games (averaging 10.5 per contest), snagging over 20% of the available defensive rebounds in each game. His offense is still rough - he struggles to find or convert opportunities from the field, and going 1/8 from the free throw line in two games is no help to the team on offense.

But his defense is filling in a huge gap that allowed St. John's opponents to either hang in the game in the non-conference or win the game outright.

And despite all that post activity over 69 minutes in two games, Obekpa was called for one foul. One.

Obekpa averages 4.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 blocks, and 1.7 steals per game in his freshman season.

Fellow Jakarr Sampson has earned three rookie of the week honors, the last on December 17th.

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