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By Joseph Staszewski

One of the things Adonis Delarosa was looking forward to most about heading to St. John’s was getting to play against and learn from center Chris Obekpa.

But that opportunity was in jeopardy when the Christ the King forward gave his commitment to the Red Storm. At the time, Obekpa was exploring his transfer options.

No one was more excited to hear that the Red Storm’s shot-blocking sophomore planned to return to the Jamaica Estates school than Delarosa, despite the fact it could mean his own playing time could decrease.

“I was actually upset about it,” the 6-foot-10, 280-pound Delarosa said about talk of Obekpa leaving. “Now that he’s back, I was just, like, pumped.”

Delaora believes they both can benefit from being on the same court together. Christ the King Coach Joe Arbitello said one of his problems at practice was not having another big man for Delarosa to go up against and to push him to be a better player.

Obekpa is one of the nation’s top defensive players and will make life difficult for Delarosa. But the CK star believes he can share with Obekpa some moves on offense.

“Working out with him can teach me some new things, how to get a shot off against an athletic defender,” Delarosa said. “I can also show him some stuff on how to score in the low post. I just felt this was good, so we can battle it out at practice every day.”

Delarosa gave fans a sign of what’s to be expected next season with a strong showing in his White Team’s 102-99 overtime victory against the Black Team in the regional All-Star game of the Jordan Brand Classic last Friday night at the Barclays Center.

Delarosa scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds while soaking in the opportunity to play at a venue like the home of the Brooklyn Nets.

“It was a great experience being that it was an NBA floor,” Delarosa said. “[St. John’s] plays in the Madison Square Garden. This was my first taste of playing on an NBA floor, so I just thought it was a great experience.”

Obekpa was granted his release by St. John’s April 3 and had a change of heart, according to SJU Coach Steve Lavin in statement. Obekpa said it became clear to him that he belonged back with the Red Storm, and he knows there is still work to be done on and off the court.

“I will do whatever is necessary to win back the trust of my coaches, teammates and our fans,” Obekpa said. “My brothers and I have unfinished business, and I am determined to help St. John’s continue the climb up the mountain.”

His return, along with news of guard Phil Green plan to stayand Delarosa’s commitment, marked a upswing in St. John’s fortune after the departure of JaKarr Sampson and Max Hooper early in the offseason and the initial thinking that Obekpa would transfer.

The Red Storm will now return 11 players from last year’s squad, and have their eyes on 6-foot-8 Westchester Community College forward Keith Thomas and Orr High School’s 6-foot-8 big man Marlon Jones.

Delarosa could feel the tide turning for St. John’s, only making him even more pleased with his decision.

“I feel like after I committed that was the start of a good vibe,” Delarosa said. “A lot of good news just started coming back, and this was the best news yet.”

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