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Report: Dayton's Obi Toppin Expected to Enter NBA Draft; Potential Top-5 Pick

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2020

DAYTON, OHIO - FEBRUARY 22: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers dunks the ball in the game against the Duquesne Dukes at UD Arena on February 22, 2020 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Obi Toppin, the highlight-dunk producing Naismith Player of the Year nominee who took the University of Dayton from mid-major threat to national championship contender, is expected to enter the 2020 NBA draft. 

Adam Zagoria of Forbes reports the sophomore will forgo the final two years of his college career and turn pro this summer. Toppin, like the rest of the NCAA's spring and winter athletes, saw his college season come to an abrupt end because of the cancelation of conference and NCAA tournaments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 6'9", 220-pound forward averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game during the 2019-20 season as the Flyers compiled a 29-2 record after going undefeated in the Atlantic 10 Conference. 

The report from Zagoria comes as the NCAA debates granting an extra year of eligibility to winter sport athletes who were unable to complete their seasons because of the spread of COVID-19. While granting that relief wouldn't necessarily factor into Toppin's return to Dayton given he still has two years left in school, two of his fellow Flyers starters, Ryan Mikesell and Trey Landers, are seniors. The team with Toppin returning would've been considered a Final Four favorite in 2020-21 either way. 

Yet declaring for the draft after this season has always been the likely conclusion to Toppin's time at Dayton. 

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman has Toppin as the eighth overall pick in his latest mock draft and noted college basketball's leader in dunks last season has assuaged concerns of scouts.

"It's getting harder to keep downgrading Toppin due to the level of competition or defensive questions," Wasserman wrote. "He's been too effective offensively given the improved shooting and advanced passes that continue to pop."

Sam Vecenie of The Athletic had Toppin a bit lower in his last mock draft at the end of February.

"His versatility and matchup nightmare-inducing game causes issues for everyone at this level, and he unlocks the five-out offense Dayton plays," Vecenie said after naming Toppin as the No. 11 pick. "Toppin has been awesome at basically every stage since the summer, and I'd feel very confident selecting him in the lottery."

NCAA players are allowed to retain their college eligibility if they declare for the draft without hiring an agent. The deadline to declare for the NBA draft is April 26. 

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