Former Dayton Flyer Obi Toppin picked 8th overall by New York Knicks in NBA Draft

Former Dayton Flyer Obi Toppin picked 8th overall by New York Knicks in NBA Draft
DAYTON, OHIO - FEBRUARY 22: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers reacts after a play in the game against the Duquesne Dukes during the second half at UD Arena on February 22, 2020 in Dayton, Ohio. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

DAYTON — Obi Toppin, former University of Dayton player was picked eighth overall during the NBA Draft by the New York Knicks.

Initial Report:

Former Dayton Flyers star Obi Toppin is projected to be a top choice in the NBA Draft which will be held virtually Wednesday night.

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Prominent NBA analysts and draft experts have mostly ranked Toppin as one of the top five players available for selection tonight. Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News ranked Toppin as the best available player in the draft, but projected him selected fifth.

Toppin enters the draft after a highly-decorated college career completed with several national awards for his role in the Flyers pandemic-shortened season. He was selected the national player of the year by several outlets including the Associated Press, CBS Sports and others. Toppin also awarded the prestigious Naismith Trophy for national player of the year and was selected as a First-Team All American.

Pending Toppin’s likely selection in the first round, he’d be the first Flyer selected in the first round of the NBA Draft since Jim Paxson was selected 14th overall by the Portland Trailblazers in 1979.

Toppin’s selection will also mark the second former Flyer drafted by an NBA team since 1990. In 2018, Kostas Antetokuonmpo ended the 28-year drought for Flyers in the draft when he was selected in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks.

Antetokuonmpo spent the 2020 season with the Los Angeles Lakers after he was claimed off of waivers from the Mavericks in Sept. 2019. The Lakers won the NBA Championship in October after a months-long playoff “bubble” in Orlando to conclude the NBA season.

Toppin might not be traveling far from Dayton to start his NBA career with both the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers selecting fourth and fifth. Ahead of those teams are the Minnesota Timberwolves with the first overall pick, Golden State Warriors second, and Charlotte Hornets third.

Rounding out the top ten are the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, and the Phoenix Suns.

Just like the COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc on all aspects of life, tonight’s draft will look significantly different and has been delayed several times. Typically held in New York in June, this year’s draft will be virtual and held months later. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will announce the selections live from the ESPN campus in Bristol, Connecticut.

Players have been sent boxes of hats to the locations they will watch the draft to put on one when their name is called by the commissioner, the Associated Press reported.

In an interview ahead of the draft with the AP, Toppin said the delay in the draft has only helped him prepare for the start of his professional career.

“I mean, playing in games, I missed it a lot. But at the same time, this extra time, it’s only helping me,” Toppin told the AP.

"I feel like I’m more prepared and mentally prepared for when the time comes, and I feel like when I’m on the court and that jump ball goes up, I feel like I’ve been waiting so long that it’s going to be an amazing feeling.”

The draft begins at 8 p.m. and will air on ESPN.

WHIO-TV will have continuing coverage of the NBA Draft tonight and will update this story with more as new details becomes available.