Obi Toppin: Where he stands in national player of year race

Dayton’s Obi Toppin against Saint Louis on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

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Dayton’s Obi Toppin against Saint Louis on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Dayton Flyers star could be program’s first All-American since 1979

The Dayton Flyers haven’t seen a player honored as an All-American since Jim Paxson in 1979. He was the ninth player in school history to earn that distinction, following Alphonse Schumacher (1912, 1913), Don Meineke (1951, 1952), John Horan (1955), Bill Uhl (1956), Bill Chmielewski (1962), Garry Roggenburk (1962), Henry Finkel (1966) and Don May (1967, 1968).

Obi Toppin could join that exclusive club in 2020 while also starting a club of his own as Dayton's first national player of the year winner.

Toppin was named the midseason national player of the year by The Athletic in January and ranked first among a group of 15 candidates in a WatchStadium.com poll in the first week of February. He received four first-place votes from 11 national writers and broadcasters.

Here's a glance at how Toppin compares to the fourth players just below him in the voting. Each of these players was named to the list of 20 front-runners for the Wooden Award earlier this month and should be on the Naismith Trophy midseason watch list, which will be released Thursday.

1. Toppin, 6-9, redshirt sophomore forward: Toppin averages 19.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 62.6 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from 3-point range for an effective field-goal percentage of 66.4. His team ranks sixth in the country in the Associated Press top-25 poll and entered the week with a 21-2 record, a 10-0 mark in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 12 straight victories.

» ARCHDEACON: More on Toppin vs. Toppin

2. Luka Garza, Iowa, 6-11, junior center: Garza averages 23.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.7 blocks per game. He shoots 55.3 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from 3-point range for an effective field-goal percentage of 59.1. Iowa (17-7, 8-5) ranks 21st and is tied for third in the Big Ten.

3. Myles Powell, Seton Hall, 6-2, senior guard: Powell averages 21.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He shoots 41.3 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from 3-point range for an effective field-goal percentage of 49.6. Seton Hall (18-5, 10-1) ranks 10th and leads the Big East by three games.

» MARCH FORECAST: Where Dayton stands in NCAA tournament picture

4. Malachi Flynn, San Diego State, 6-1, junior guard: Flynn averages 20.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game. He shoots 44.5 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from 3-point range for an effective field-goal percentage of 53.4. San Diego State (24-0, 13-0) ranks fourth and is the only undefeated team in the country.

5. Payton Pritchard, Oregon, 6-2, senior guard: Pritchard averages 19.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He shoots 46 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from 3-point range for an effective field-goal percentage of 54.4. Oregon (18-6, 7-4) ranks 17th and sits alone in second place in the Pac 12.

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