The Dayton Flyers basketball team lost another one of its taller players for the coming season when the NCAA Clearinghouse sidelined 6-foot-9 freshman Obadiah “Obi” Toppin for not meeting initial academic eligibility standards.
It’s the same scenario that played out for Flyer big man Steve McElvene three years ago and Kostas Anteokounmpo last year when they were grounded by the Clearinghouse until they improved their academic qualifications. Similarly, Toppin will remain a member of the UD team and will be able to practice, but he will not be permitted to play this season.
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As an academic redshirt, he will have four years of eligibility remaining.
For more than a month Flyers coaches had known of the possibility that Toppin would be ruled ineligible, but they held out hope and awaited the final ruling.
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“We knew this was a possible scenario for Obi early on in the recruiting process,” Dayton head coach Anthony Grant said. “And if it came to pass, we saw this as a chance for him to utilize this year acclimate as a student and enhance his strength and skill as an academic redshirt. This is a great opportunity for Obi to develop as a player and student over the next 12 months, and prepare himself for a very successful college career.”
The team already was shorthanded for the coming season with the loss of 6-foot-7 Ryan Mikesell, who is recovering from two hip surgeries in the offseason, and 6-foot-9 Sam Miller’s dismissal from the team after he was suspended from the university for a semester and his scholarship was revoked following a highly publicized incident at the Greene County Jail this summer following his arrest at a Beavercreek bar.
Initially charged with disorderly conduct by intoxication amd underage consumption, Miller was taken to the jail, where he got into a scuffle with a fellow inmate that was caught on video cameras and ended up a much-viewed clip on the internet. Charged with assault in that incident, he accepted a plea deal to disorderly conduct.
Toppin averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists last season while playing at Mt. Zion Prep in Baltimore.
Prior to that, he played just one season of varsity basketball — his senior year at Ossing High School in New York — and averaged 20.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3 steals. He was selected to the Lower Hudson High Schools Basketball Coaches Association Conference 1 All Section Team and was named all-league.
As for the impact of Toppin’s loss to the team, Grant recently said: “He’s one of just 11 (scholarship players). Nobody on the roster is expendable. We need everybody.”