Obi Toppin called it just another number. In the same breath, he said it would be amazing to reach it.
That number is 67. Toppin has dunked 64 times in his redshirt freshman season with the Dayton Flyers. Chris Wright set the school record in 2009-10 with 66 dunks. At this point, it’s not a question of whether Toppin will tie Wright and then pass him but when.
» RELATED: Obi Toppin dunk tracker
Wright, a Trotwood-Madison graduate, got a firsthand look at two of Toppin’s dunks Saturday during Dayton’s 69-68 loss to Virginia Commonwealth at UD Arena. He was back in his hometown during the NBA All-Star Break. Wright plays for the Oklahoma City Blue in the NBA G League.
“That’s a lot of dunks,” Wright told WHIO-TV Sports Director Mike Hartsock during a studio interview. “Records are made to be broken. For Obi to be right there, I’m excited.”
Wright added, “But at the end of the day, I’m still a better dunker.”
Wright described Toppin as more of a power dunker, whereas his nickname was “Flight” for a reason.
“I wouldn’t take anything away from him,” Wright said. “He’s an extremely athletic kid. To be able to do some of the things he’s done and use that in different parts of the game is key. You can be a dunker, but being able to use that in other parts of your game is what really sets you apart from other athletes.”
Wright dunked 177 times from 2007-11. That means he scored 22.1 percent of his 1,601 career points — he ranks 15th in Dayton history in scoring — on dunks. He’ll hold onto that record for at least a few more years, though Toppin could challenge it because has three more years of eligibility.
This is the second season in a row someone has challenged Wright’s single-season dunks record. Josh Cunningham dunked 58 times last season. That mark ranks third now. Wright’s 54 dunks in the 2008-09 season rank fourth. Sean Finn rounds out the top five with 43 dunks in 2003-04.
While Toppin was a late bloomer, dunking for the first time just before his senior year at Ossining (N.Y.) High School, Wright said he first dunked around sixth or seventh grade.
In all his years of dunking, Wright has never attempted a between-the-legs dunk in a game. Toppin pulled that off in December against Georgia Southern, creating a viral moment for Dayton basketball. At last count, a Dayton Daily News video of the dunk had been viewed more than 460,000 times on Twitter.
“Athleticism is something you can’t really teach,” Wright said. “For him to be able to do that in the game, that takes a lot of heart. When you’re on a fast break, you sometimes think about what you’re going to do. I think he predetermined that. I’ve done windmills, off the glass, but never one between the legs during a game because if you miss it you’re going to hear it. Your coach is going to let you have it.”
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