Obi Toppin had extra incentive to play well and put on a show in his first performance at UD Arena.
Toppin scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and thrilled a crowd of 12,446 fans with two memorable dunks in an 89-71 victory against Capital in an exhibition game Friday. He played his first college game after a long wait — he arrived on campus 17 months ago in June 2017 — and did so with his dad, Obadiah Toppin, in the stands.
It was a big moment for the son and the father. Obi said his dad almost cried watching him play in person for the first time since he was a freshman in high school.
“Before the game, I saw him,” Toppin said, “and it’s been a while since I’ve seen him. He was in Florida, and I was in New York. But he came to the game to see me play, and it was a good experience for him. To have him come to the game, I was really pumped.”
Toppin said Monday his dad moved back to New York this week and was in the process of moving from Florida when he stopped in Dayton. Toppin’s godfather, Victor Manaros, also saw him play Friday. Toppin’s play brought back memories for his dad.
“He was a really good player,” Toppin said. “He played overseas. He said it was bringing flashes back. He’s about the same size. He was a really good dunker. He played on a street team called the Court Kingz, and his name was Dunkers Delight.”
» EARLIER COVERAGE: Toppin eager to make college debut
Dayton plays its first regular-season game at 7 p.m. Wednesday against North Florida at UD Arena. Toppin expects to see his family in the stands often.
“My mom’s (Roni Toppin) going to come to a lot of games,” Toppin said. “My dad’s going to come to a lot of games.”
Toppin attended every game at UD Arena last season but sat on the bench as an academic redshirt. He had not worn the Dayton uniform in front of fans until Friday.
“The game was really fun,” Toppin said. “A lot people showed up. The lights were bright. It was just a fun experience. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be. I just enjoyed every moment.”
NOTES: Dayton coach Anthony Grant said Monday the players voted redshirt senior forward Josh Cunningham, redshirt junior forward Ryan Mikesell and junior guard Trey Landers captains for the 2018-19 season.
• DJ Gordon, a 6-foot-6 guard in the class of 2020, took an unofficial visit to the University of Dayton on Friday, sitting behind the bench during the exhibition game. Gordon, a junior at First Love Christian Academy in Washington, Pa., received a scholarship offer from Dayton on Sunday, along with teammate Madior Seye, a 7-0 center in the 2020 class.
• Dayton ranks 66th in ESPN’s preseason Basketball Power Index. It’s the second-highest ranked team in the Atlantic 10 Conference behind No. 62 Richmond.
• Former Dayton point guard Scoochie Smith had 11 assists Saturday in his season debut for the Canton Charge in the NBA G League. Former Dayton forward Kostas Antetokounmpo made his professional debut Saturday, scoring 13 points for the Texas Legends in the G League.