Dayton's Obi Toppin Declares for 2020 NBA Draft; Projected Top-5 Pick

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2020

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 07: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers looks on during a game against the George Washington Colonials at UD Arena on March 7, 2020 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Dayton forward Obi Toppin has announced his intention to declare for the 2020 NBA draft, forgoing his final two seasons of eligibility.

Not mentioned among the elite prospects in this class coming into the season, Toppin soared up draft boards with an excellent redshirt sophomore campaign. He averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game before Dayton's storybook season ended abruptly when the NCAA canceled the men's and women's basketball tournaments amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"He's playing at a mid-major [college] and he's kicking top players in the behind," a scout told Branson Wright of the Plain Dealer. "Obi's a lottery pick. He's going either first, second or third in the [NBA] draft. You can't name five players better than him."

Toppin projects as a solid 4 at the next level. He separates himself with an ability to stretch the floor, shooting 39.0 percent from three this season, while adding some rim protection (1.2 blocks per game). While there will be questions about his top-end athleticism, being a guaranteed contributor in this draft will garner lottery consideration.

Toppin has all the skills to be taken in the top 10 and is also an intriguing long-term prospect despite turning 22 in March. He only played one year of varsity high school basketball and grew from 6'2" as a high school junior to his current height of 6'9".

"Playing point guard in high school helps me a lot now," Toppin told Wright. "I'm comfortable bringing the ball up court. I'm comfortable with the ball in my hands, and I see lots of things on the court. I can find people for open shots."

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His versatility will allow teams to overlook his age in what's seen as a shaky class.