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Reports: Former St. John's center Obekpa to visit Minnesota

St. John's big man Chris Obekpa will be visiting the University of Minnesota today, a source confirmed to the Star Tribune.

John Rothstein of CBS Sports originally reported the news. Darren Wolfson of Channel 5 first reported that Obekpa would be in town today.

The Red Storm announced last week that the center would transfer for his senior season following the coaching change that saw Steve Lavin mutually part ways with St. John's and Chris Mullin take the helm.

Obekpa, the Red Storm's all-time leading shot-blocker, averaged 5.8 points, seven rebounds and 3.1 blocks a game last season, but was suspended from the team during St. John's one-game NCAA tournament appearance after testing positive for marijuana.

The Gophers still have one spot immediately available on the roster after the university announced that guard Jarvis Johnson would not be medically cleared to play.

Obekpa would have to sit out a mandatory redshirt year, due to NCAA rules, wherever he transfers.

Pitino's Gophers to play Oklahoma State in Sioux Falls

The University of Minnesota men's basketball team will meet Oklahoma State in a nonconference neutral-site matchup this winter, the Gophers announced on Friday.

The game, played on Saturday, Dec. 12 will take place at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Cowboys finished last season with an 18-14 record overall and an 8-10 mark in the Big 12 -- considered one of basketball's best conferences last year -- and lost to Oregon, 79-73 in the NCAA tournament round of 64. 

"Travis Ford has done an unbelievable job with Oklahoma State, year in and year out," Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said in a release. "We believe playing one of the top programs in the Big 12 will certainly get us ready for our conference schedule."

Pitino has repeatedly said this offseason he was hoping to add some more muscle to the Gophers pre-Big Ten slate. Last year, the Gophers opened the season with then No. 8 Louisville in Puerto Rico and then played St. John's and Georgia in the NIT Season Tipoff followed by a road trip to Wake Forest. But Minnesota played only one top-200 (kenpom.com) team the rest of the non-conference slate.

"I thought where I made a mistake last year is ...I don’t think we learned a whole lot in December about where we stood," Pitino said in April. "And then I think those first two weeks in January, I think it took a lot out of everybody, and I think that’s my fault in not challenging them with a good game late in December."

Pitino has talked about adding a home-and-home series this year as well, which could still happen. The Gophers' full nonconference schedule will be released later this summer.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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