Obi Toppin: Dayton Flyers ‘putting on a show’ for NBA scouts

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Combined ShapeCaption
Obi Toppin: "The team we have this year is amazing"

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

More than half of the NBA teams have sent scouts to UD practices this month

NBA scouts have flocked to the University of Dayton’s Cronin Center in October to see Obi Toppin, the Dayton Flyers forward generating first-round draft buzz.

» PHOTOS: Toppin through the years

The official Dayton basketball Twitter account has kept track of what teams have visited. The Golden State Warriors stopped by for the second time on Tuesday. A day earlier, the Detroit Pistons came to watch the 15th preseason practice. In all, 17 of the NBA’s 30 teams have sent representatives.

Toppin, a redshirt sophomore who made the Atlantic 10 preseason first team Thursday, said he doesn’t feel pressure when he sees scouts in attendance. He just plays his game.

“It’s been great,” Toppin said. “A lot of scouts have been coming and seeing us play. We’ve just been putting on a show for them.”

» RECRUITING: 2020 guard picks UD

Toppin has had an eventful offseason. He declared for the draft in April, worked out for five NBA teams in the spring and then decided to return to Dayton.

In August, Toppin earned praise for his play at the Nike Skills Academy. He performed so well a ESPN draft expert moved him from the second round to the first round in a 2020 mock draft.

Earlier this month, Toppin was one of 20 players named to the watch list for the Karl Malone Award, which honors the nation's top power forward. Also in October, Matt Norlander, of CBSSports.com, ranked Toppin the 44th best player in the country.

"Kostas Antetokounmpo, in 2018, was Dayton's first NBA pick in 28 years," Norlander wrote. "Next June, Toppin might become the second Flyer in three seasons to get picked. The 6-9 sophomore is a hidden gem who will break out nationally if UD winds up positioning itself for an NCAA Tournament bid. Averaging 20 and 10 is plausible for Toppin, who may well start to step out and expand his game near the arc.

Jeff Goodman, of WatchStadium.com, predicted Toppin would be the 27th pick in the first round in 2020.

"Terrific athlete who is just scratching the surface of what he can become," Goodman wrote. "Toppin only played one season of varsity ball in high school and redshirted his freshman season at Dayton. He's got the length and athleticism, and had nearly 100 dunks last season."

At Atlantic 10 Media Day on Thursday, A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade called Toppin a lottery pick, according to a report by Bill Koch, of the Providence Journal.

“He’s somebody that everybody in the A10 is going to get a chance to see,” McGlade said.

» SCRIMMAGE: Dayton plays outside competition for first time Saturday

Toppin handled the hype well last season before he had ever played a game in college basketball and continues to take it in stride as the scouts watch practice.

“He’s handled it very well,” Dayton point guard Jalen Crutcher said. “We’ve got to act like they’re not here. We’ve just got to go out there and play together and play team ball.”

Guard Jhery Matos said it’s fun having the scouts at the Cronin Center.

“They sit right there,” said Matos on Thursday, pointing to a spot near the entrance. “They watch the entire practice. Even if it’s only for Obi, it’s good to have people from the NBA here because getting there is the main goal for each one of us. It’s pretty cool to see them come.”

About the Author