The St. John's Queens campus has two special visitors this weekend.
JaKarr Sampson, the 6'8" forward originally from Akron, Ohio and more recently of Brewster Academy, will be joined at St. John's today by prospective recruit Chris Obekpa. The Our Savior New American shot-blocking star continues to weigh his options before making a final decision sometime this spring.
Obekpa has been courted by many high major schools throughout the recruitment process, including St. John's, Cincinnati, Providence, and UConn. Recent perception was that Mick Cronin and the Bearcats were the favorites to land the forward.
But news that Obekpa is taking an official visit to St. John's on Saturday, first reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com on Friday, could change things.
It is interesting that Steve Lavin is choosing to have Obekpa and Sampson, who verbally re-commited to the Johnnies earlier in March, convene on campus simultaneously.
The 2011-12 Red Storm were plagued by serious depth issues, among other distractions and overwhelming inexperience. With Moe Harkless' announcement that he intends to enter the NBA Draft and hire an agent, Lavin is left with yet another daunting task.
Even with forward God`sgift Achiuwa and the addition of Sampson, next year's Johnnies are desperate for some interior size. You can't win in the Big East without it. Lavin and his staff know the importance of obtaining a prospect who provides size and rebounding ability, whether that is Obekpa or not.
The Red Storm are also currently looking at Monroe College JUCO forward Orlando Sanchez (Rumble profile) and shooting guard Marco Bourgault (Rumble profile). Monroe's season just ended in the NJCAA quarterfinals, so a decision could be coming from these two in the coming days.
Steve Lavin continues to prepare his fan base for a "stellar" recruiting class. If he can finagle his way into an Obekpa commitment, it would be even more than stellar.