Dayton player could be on his way to sweeping top honors
The list of awards Dayton Flyers forward Obi Toppin, who announced in March he’s entering his name in the NBA Draft, has won in 2020 keeps growing. He’s the first player in Dayton history to win a national player of the year award, and he’s won a bunch of them. His coach Anthony Grant has been honored a number of times as well.
Here’s a guide to keep track:
Naismith Trophy: Toppin joined a club that includes Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and Zion Williamson.
Associated Press: Toppin and Grant swept the top awards from the AP. Toppin told the AP, "Honestly, if you had asked me, I swear we could've won a national championship and our team was so ready to play in the tournament. We were so locked in. But because of this virus, things happened. It's just going to be a what-if for the rest of our lives, but it's something we're going to have to live with."
CBS Sports: Matt Norlander wrote, "Toppin became a star, and it speaks to his effectiveness, efficiency and watchability that in the closing couple of weeks of the season he found a little separation in what was one of the most wide open player of the year races in modern college hoops history."
The Athletic: Hugh Kellenberger wrote, "Toppin ended the season averaging 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game. He made 69.8 percent of his 2s and 39 percent of his 3s. He went consistently viral with some of the best in-game dunking we've ever seen. There were other very good players this year — Iowa's Luka Garza did collect two votes for this award — but Obi was Obi. And no one was better.
USA Today: Scott Gleeson wrote, "The 6-9 athletic forward is more than just a dunking highlight reel. Toppin can shoot, pass and defend. He was the face of a 29-2 Flyers team that went undefeated in Atlantic 10 play and only lost in overtime. Toppin averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Dayton was well-positioned for a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed."
Rivals.com: Eric Bossi wrote, "My National Player of the Year, Toppin has been absolutely dominant as Dayton has put together a special run during the 2019-20 season. Not only is Toppin efficient, he's versatile, he's competitive and his high-flying style pleases crowds. Can he lead the Flyers to a Final Four? If he can come close to playing the way he did during the regular season in the NCAA Tournament, then the future NBA lottery pick certainly has a chance."
NBC Sports: Rob Dauster wrote, "What makes Toppin so special is that it is his unique combination of skills that allows Dayton to be able to play the way that they want to play. He has the size, strength and athleticism to be able to guard basically any position on the floor, giving the Flyers the ability to play a switching defense. Then combine that with the way that he can play on the perimeter, his ability as a passer and playmaker, his elite floor-running and the fact that he is the most dangerous player in college basketball rolling to the rim after a ball-screen, and what you get is the nation's most dangerous offense."
All-American first team awards
Associated Press: He's the first Flyer to make this specific first team and the 10th Flyer to make an All-America team of any sort.
The Sporting News: Mike DeCourcy wrote, "Dayton did not play many close games, in large part because Toppin was so much better than the rest of the Atlantic 10 that even the league's NCAA Tournament contenders couldn't keep up. That game at Saint Louis turned out to be the one great chance there was to prevent an 18-0 Dayton run through the conference, but Toppin's tip-in with 8:20 left ignited a 29-16 Dayton close to regulation that forced overtime. His 3-pointer just inside the four-minute mark closed the deficit to a single basket. When Duquesne got too close for comfort in the Flyers' trip to Pittsburgh, Toppin attacked the rim for eight points in the final eight minutes to help preserve a four-point win. He scored in double figures in every game but one and produced eight double-doubles, helping the Flyers to a school-record win total (29) that figures to keep growing."
Sports Illustrated: The website wrote, "After a solid redshirt freshman season in 2018–19, Toppin stormed onto the national scene this year behind his gaudy stats and show-stopping dunks, turning himself (and his team) into must-see TV."
Atlantic 10 Conference awards
Player of the Year: He became the first player in Dayton history to win this award when it was announced March 10.
"It means a lot. but all the credit goes to my teammates," Toppin said Tuesday before practice at the Cronin Center. "Like I always say, without them, I wouldn't be the player that I am."