Obi Toppin joined a club that includes Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and Zion Williamson by winning the Naismith Trophy on Friday.
» RELATED: Grant wins Naismith coach of year award
Toppin, a 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore forward from Ossining and Brooklyn, N.Y., is the first Dayton Flyers player to win a national player of the year award of any kind, and he has won a bunch in recent weeks. The Naismith Trophy, presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, might be the most prestigious.
Toppin thanked his teammates and coaches, including head coach Anthony Grant, who won the Naismith coach of the year award on Thursday, in an interview on CBS Sports HQ. Toppin won the Naismith just short of three years after arriving on UD campus as an under-the-radar recruit.
"I just knew coming into Dayton I was going to have to work really hard," Toppin said. "Everyone pushed me as soon as I got there, and that's why I loved those guys. They helped me be the player I am today, and without those guys, I wouldn't have accomplished this. I thank them every single day for that."
Toppin is the first player from an Ohio college to win the Naismith since Ohio State’s Evan Turner in 2010. Cincinnati’s Kenyon Martin, who was honored in 2000, is the only other Ohio player to win the award.
» KEEPING TRACK: A guide to Toppin’s many awards
Jameer Nelson, of Saint Joseph’s, won the Naismith in 2004. He’s the only other player from the Atlantic 10 Conference to win it.
Toppin has also won national player of the year awards from the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and a number of websites and publications.
There is one more national award Toppin can win. He’s one of five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award. The winner will be announced Tuesday during ESPN’s SportsCenter’s broadcast, which starts at 5 p.m.
» BIG PICTURE: Sullivan says awards show what can be done at Dayton
Toppin entered his name in the NBA Draft in March after two seasons at UD. He averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds this season as a redshirt sophomore. He led Dayton to a 29-2 season, an Atlantic 10 Conference championship, a No. 3 ranking in the Associated Press poll and 20 straight victories to end the season.
"I wanna give thanks to my coaches and teammates. Without those guys, I don't think I'd be the player or the person that I am today." @DaytonMBB stud Obi Toppin after winning the @NaismithTrophy Award for National Player of the Year pic.twitter.com/doCOeVwET6— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) April 3, 2020
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