"I've been around the game a long time," Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot told Pittsburgh Sports Now after the game. "My gut is he's probably a NBA pro. That's what the NBA guys are looking for right now is big people running to the rim, setting ball screens, because you can't guard the rim. He lets the game come to him. As he gets stronger, he's a force to be reckoned with. They just better hope he doesn't go too soon."
Toppin’s emergence as a A-10 Rookie of the Year candidate has been one of the top stories in the first half of conference play. Eight of the 14 teams have played nine of the 18 league games. Here’s where the conference stands at the halfway point:
Conference favorite: Davidson (16-5, 7-1) leads George Mason (15-7, 7-2) by a half game, and it will be hard to stop the Wildcats in the next five weeks.
» RECRUITING: Top-100 prospect visits Dayton
Davidson caught a break in scheduling because they play the five teams behind them in the standings — George Mason, Dayton, Duquesne, Virginia Commonwealth and Saint Louis — only once. They already beat Duquesne, George Mason, VCU and Saint Louis.
Player of the year race: While Charlie Brown leads the A-10 in scoring (20.1 points per game), this award always goes to someone from a team ranked in the top five of the standings. The Hawks (10-12, 3-6) are 11th. That makes Davidson sophomore guard Kellan Grady, the league's second-leading scorer (18.1), the favorite.
Most improved: Duquesne (15-7, 6-3) was picked to finish 11th and sits alone in fifth place. It finished 10th last season and last two seasons ago. It has not finished in the top half of the standings since it placed fourth with a 10-6 mark in 2010-11.
Most disappointing: Take your pick. Saint Joseph's was picked second but has fallen in the standings in part because of injuries.
Massachusetts (8-14, 1-8) was picked to finish eighth and has fallen to 13th, right where it finished last season at 5-13. Saint Louis (14-8, 5-4) is also competing with this title. It has lost four straight games after a 5-0 start.
Dayton at Saint Louis, CBS Sports Network, AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO