DAYTON, OHIO – DECEMBER 30: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers dunks the ball in the game against … [+]
Dayton’s Obi Toppin, who is among the leading contenders for national player of the year honors in college basketball, is expected to the enter the NBA Draft, sources said.
“He will turn pro,” one source said. “I know many NBA scouts are high on him.”
The 6-foot-9 Brooklyn native is projected as the No. 9 pick in the NBA Draft, per ESPN.com, but one league executive called him a “top-5” pick.
Toppin threw down 107 dunks this season — tops in the nation — and was the closest thing to Zion Williamson fans of college basketball witnessed before the season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
Entering this week’s Atlantic 10 Tournament, Toppin was averaging 20 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 63.3 percent from the field, which ranked fifth nationally. He was named the A-10 Player of the Year and is a finalist for several national player of the year honors, including the Naismith and Wooden Awards.
Toppin was the driving force behind a Dayton team that was 29-2 overall and a perfect 18-0 in the A-10 heading into their conference tournament in Brooklyn. Both of Dayton’s losses came in overtime on neutral courts. The Flyers were a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled.
When NBA scouts contact Mike Casey, Toppin’s former coach at Ossining (N.Y.) High School, Casey tells them Toppin is “humble” off the court.
Toppin’s mother, Roni, grandparents, aunts and other family members often attend his games and he is “surrounded by family,” Casey said.
“And it shows because that really speaks to the type of person and young man he’s become and he’s taken on that personality as one of the team leaders on Dayton,” Casey said.
George Washington coach Jamion Christian says Toppin possesses a “great spirit.”
“A lot of times you see guys who are really dominant and they kind of lose their spirit to compete and play,” Christian said. “He has this superstar spirit that’s genuine that I think people are going to really love as they get to know him more. I think the best ones always have that, they have something that’s a little bit different that’s not about themselves. I don’t know if it’s like an inner arrogance, but he’s got that.”