Source: Chris Obekpa wants to stay

NEW YORK -- Sophomore center Chris Obekpa has had a change of heart and wants to return to St. John's, a source close to the program told ESPNNewYork.com.

Coach Steve Lavin is currently on the road recruiting, but is expected to meet with Obekpa later this week.

Obekpa asked for and was granted a release to transfer to another school less than two weeks ago. It was a big blow to the Red Storm, who were already dealing with the early departure of forward Jakarr Sampson.

Sampson, the team's second-leading scorer and leading rebounder this past season, is entering the NBA draft.

Obekpa, a fellow sophomore, averaged 3.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in 2013-14. But he was 19th in the country in blocked shots per game (2.9), after leading the nation in that category as a freshman (4.0). He is already St. John's all-time leader in blocks, with 227.

Losing both Sampson and Obekpa would leave St. John's perilously thin in the front court as things stand heading into next season.

There are no guarantees Obekpa will be welcomed back to the Red Storm. The decision lies in Lavin's hands.

St. John's is coming off a disappointing 2013-14 season, in which the team failed to make the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row.