|No. 21 – Santa Cruz Warriors|
|League||NBA Development League|
November 14, 1993 |
|Listed height||6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)|
|Listed weight||230 lb (104 kg)|
|College||St. John's (2012–2015)|
|NBA draft||2016 / Undrafted|
|2016–present||Santa Cruz Warriors|
|Career highlights and awards|
Christopher Ewaoche Obekpa (born 14 November 1993) is a Nigerian basketball player for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League. He played college basketball for St. John's University in Jamaica, New York from 2012 to 2015. As a freshman in 2012–13 he led NCAA Division I in blocks per game with a 4.03 average. After three years at St. John's, Obekpa transferred to UNLV, redshirted 2015–16, but then declared for the 2016 NBA draft. On April 23, 2016, Obekpa hired an agent, which officially prohibited him from finishing his college career.
Chris Obekpa was born in Makurdi, Nigeria to parents Elizabeth O. Ameh, his mother, and Gabriel Obekpa. He has six sisters and three brothers. His grandfather used to be the king of the Idoma tribe, his father is a prince, and his uncle Elias Ikeoyi Obekpa is the current king.
Obekpa's grew up around soccer fans, but his interest in basketball was stronger. Word of his talents spread and he eventually was selected to play for the Nigerian under-16 national team. In 2010 he moved to the United States to attend his final two years of high school in hopes of being noticed by college programs (Chris' older brother, Ofu, played one year of basketball at the University of Maine at Machias). He moved to New York City and enrolled at Our Savior New American School (OSNAS) in Centereach. As a junior in 2010–11 he helped the school finish with a 17–10 record behind averages of 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocks per game. In three separate tournaments he was named the Most Valuable Player.
The following season, Obekpa's senior year in 2011–12, he led OSNAS to a 25–5 overall record as well as a final national top-10 ranking by MaxPreps.com. He nearly averaged a triple-double: 12 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks per game. The National Association of Christian Athletes named him a first team All-American, and national recruiting services listed him as a top-100 overall recruit (top-20 for centers).
Colleges that expressed interest in him were UCLA, Connecticut, DePaul, Cincinnati, Oregon, and St. John's, among others. Obekpa ultimately chose St. John's because it was in his adopted home city and he did not want to have to re-adjust to another city's culture so quickly; he felt comfortable in New York.
Obekpa quickly established himself as a premier shot blocker during his freshman campaign in 2012–13. In his first collegiate game, he set a St. John's record with eight blocks. Less than one month later, on 8 December 2012, he recorded a new school record 11 blocks in a game against Fordham; this total was one shy of the Big East Conference record. Obekpa finished his first year as the top shot blocker in the nation with a 4.03 per game average after recording 133 blocks in 33 games. St. John's earned a berth into the 2013 National Invitation Tournament where they lost to Virginia in the second round.
On August 4, 2015, Obekpa announced he was transferring to UNLV. After sitting out the 2015–16 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Obekpa declared for the NBA draft. On April 23, 2016, he hired sports agent Aaron Turner, which officially ended his collegiate eligibility.
After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, Obekpa joined the Miami Heat for the 2016 NBA Summer League. On October 21, he signed with the Golden State Warriors, but was waived the next day. On October 31, 2016, he was acquired by the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League as an affiliate player of Golden State.
- "#12 Chris Obekpa". NBADraft.net. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- Waters, Mike (February 10, 2013). "St. John's freshman Chris Obekpa is the new King of Queens". Syracuse.com. Syracuse Media Group. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- Clemmons, Anna Katherine (February 10, 2013). "The building blocks of Chris Obekpa". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- "Chris Obekpa Bio". RedStormSports.com. St. John's University. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- Zagoria, Adam (December 8, 2012). "'Oblockpa' Notches New St. John's-Record 11 Blocks as NBA Personnel Slowly Take Notice". ZagsBlog.com. SNY.TV. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- "Chris Obekpa stats". Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- "2012–13 St. John's Red Storm Schedule and Results". Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- Borzello, Jeff (August 4, 2015). "Chris Obekpa says he's transferring from St. John's to UNLV". ESPN. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
- "UNLV's Obekpa Signs With Agent, Turns Pro". MWCConnetion.com. SB-Nation. April 26, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
- "HEAT Announce Summer League Information". NBA.com. June 29, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- "2016-17 Golden State Warriors Transactions". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
- "Santa Cruz Warriors Announce 2016 Training Camp Roster". NBA.com. October 31, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2016.