Evaluating Obi Toppin and Landers Nolley II

November 26th, 2019

by Alan Lu

Today, I decided to watch Obi Toppin and the Dayton Flyers take on Landers Nolley II and the Virginia Tech Hokies in a November 26th basketball game that took place at the Maui Invitational. After Dayton was able to defeat Anthony Edwards and Georgia, it was thought that they would end up facing Michigan State, but Virginia Tech was able to pull off a stunning upset over the Spartans. In this contest though, Dayton managed to run away with a sizable, double-digit victory over the Hokies, as Obi Toppin put forth a dominant performance to lead his team to the win at this event.

It's looking to be crystal clear that Obi Toppin should be a no-doubt, lottery pick for the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: Marco Garcia/Associated Press via The Seattle Times.)
Obi Toppin had a tremendous showing to help Dayton get the win over Virginia Tech at the Maui Invitational. (Photo: Marco Garcia/Associated Press via The Seattle Times.)

Dayton’s 6-9 redshirt sophomore forward, Obi Toppin had a terrific showing in his team’s win over Virginia Tech. He shot the ball very well, as he showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also made a number of eye-popping, highlight-reel worthy plays to help his team on offense. In this game, he managed to score 24 points and grab 8 rebounds to help his team defeat the Hokies.

Toppin did a great job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team. He excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also managed to make one off of a pick and pop play shortly after setting a screen for a teammate.

Plus, he also showed a very good ability to score in the post. Toppin would use quick spin moves to score on thunderous dunks, as he showed a knack for throwing down powerful jams to score from the block. He also was able to score on a strong drop step move another time, and Toppin showed off very good agility, footwork, and finishing ability to score often in the paint.

He also excelled at scoring on quick rolls to the rim. On one play, Toppin really elevated to score on a tough bank shot off the glass after getting the ball on a roll from a teammate. Also, Toppin was able to beat his man down court to catch a lob pass in order to score on an alley-oop dunk on the break. Adding to that, he managed to draw free throws on a left-handed drive, as he would have scored on a fadeaway runner off the glass had the shot counted.

Also, he showed off adequate playmaking skills. Toppin is a fairly good passer out of the post, and he also can throw accurate outlet passes. He also has very good hands to catch passes, and he also generally handled the ball well in this game. However, he also did commit a couple of turnovers, as he threw an inaccurate pass from the post to a cutter that got picked off, and he also was called for traveling on a drive after passing up an open shot on a separate possession.

In addition, he also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Toppin was able to leap up to haul in plenty of defensive boards, as he was quite active at crashing the glass.

Also, Toppin played adequate defense in his team’s win over Virginia Tech.  He was able to rotate to defend a shooter off of a ball screen to force a miss, and he did a good job of hedging out on screens and defending opposing ball handlers out on the perimeter. However, sometimes he would be caught ball watching, as he would be late to rotate to his man, which would lead him to allow opponents to occasionally score on three-point shots.

In general, Obi Toppin had a tremendous game in his team’s win over Virginia Tech. He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he also shot the ball very well to help his team on offense. He also was able to throw down several eye-popping dunks, as he showed off a terrific ability to score from the post. Right now, Toppin’s stock has been soaring this week, and he is a talented prospect that could end up being a lottery pick in 2020, as he has the skills to be a solid player in the NBA.

Landers Nolley II has played very well at the Maui Invitational, and he could be a potential first round pick in 2020. (Photo: Matthew Thayer/The Maui News.)
Landers Nolley II has played very well at the Maui Invitational, and he could be a potential first round pick in 2020. (Photo: Matthew Thayer/The Maui News.)

Virginia Tech’s 6-7 redshirt freshman swingman, Landers Nolley II put forth a fairly good performance in his team’s loss to Dayton. He was able to score in a variety of ways, he also shot the ball well, and he also able to make some solid defensive plays in this game.

Nolley did a good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team on offense.   He especially showed a penchant for making quick threes off the catch, and he also moves well off the ball, as he can use off-ball movement to get open prior to making spot-up threes. He was able to make a slew of threes early on, but he struggled with his jump shot in the second half as the game progressed. He did appear to make a three after running off of a screen to get the ball, but because an opponent ran into his screener off the ball, that shot did not count, which would have been his fourth made three-point shot of the contest. Also, he had trouble making pull-up, mid-range jumpers, as he struggled more to score when he would look to attack the basket.

Though he generally struggled to get all the way to the hoop off the dribble, Nolley did have one solid score off of a patient, left-handed drive, as he used a pivot move to his right to score gracefully off the glass. He also managed to draw free throws on a separate left-handed drive to the basket. Nolley also flashed some low post scoring skills, as he can score on tough, turnaround jumpers, but he had trouble making them consistently against Dayton.

He also was a bit turnover prone on offense. For the positives, Nolley is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man as he will swing the ball to open shooters, and he also managed to find a cutter from the post to set up a scoring opportunity for a teammate. Plus, he also set a screen that enabled him to get open to score on a three-point shot later on. However, Nolley had some trouble creating his own shot at times, as he would sometimes get the ball poked away, and he also committed a charging foul on a drive that would lead his team to commit turnovers.

Plus, he also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball. Nolley was quietly able to haul in plenty of defensive boards, and he would sometimes push the ball up the floor off of them afterwards. However, there was also another possession early on, in which he fouled an opponent on a put back, which caused his team to give up the basket and an extra free throw on the play.

Nolley played decent defense in this game. He was able to rotate to block a shot off of a drive to a teammate due to possessing good positioning, footwork, and timing, and he also would stay in front of opposing ball handlers, as he was able to force them to miss on a three as well as on a drive another time. However, Nolley also tended to pick up quick fouls, as he was called for fouling an opponent on a drive in transition due to bumping him on the break, which caused him to give up the score and an extra free throw. Another time, he tried to front his man when defending in the post, but he ended up allowing his opponent to get an easy catch and dunk instead.

In summary, Landers Nolley II played fairly well, as he is a tall, athletic swingman that can shoot and score the basketball. He had more trouble when he would look to score off the dribble, and he also picked up some fouls that prevented him from going on more scoring binges in this game. He also got into a rut after he made an apparent three after running off of a ball screen that was taken off the scoreboard in the second half, as Dayton ended up routing Virginia Tech shortly afterwards. But regardless, Nolley is a talented player that has been flying under the radar. Right now, he may be a second round prospect for the NBA, and he has the skills to thrive as a shooting specialist at the next level.

Other Notes:

Dayton’s 6-5 senior guard, Trey Landers played very well to help get his team a double-digit victory over Virginia Tech. He made a lot of terrific hustle plays from the get-go, and he is an energetic, high-motor player that excelled on both ends of the floor.

Landers showed a knack for scoring on powerful dunks off of cuts, and he also managed to score on a tip-in off of his own miss. Plus, he also can score on drives to the hoop, as he can use either hand to do so. Plus, Landers excelled at getting rebounds and steals, and he is a tenacious player that showed off very good ball location skills.

Overall, Landers had a very good showing in his team’s win over Virginia Tech. Though he is listed at guard, he plays much taller than his listed height, as he plays like a big man. He is a rangy, tenacious defender that will play passing lanes and poke balls away to get steals, and he also can get numerous scores on off-ball motion plays. He has been excelling in his role this year at Dayton, as he is a team player that will do the little things to help his team get wins. He will still need to improve his jump shot to improve his odds to make it to the NBA, but if he can, he could project to be a defensive specialist in the association.

Dayton’s 6-7, redshirt senior forward, Ryan Mikesell also played well in his team’s win over Virginia Tech. He excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he was able to score off of a roll and a put back, and he also has good strength to draw additional free throws afterwards. He also can shoot the basketball, as he was able to run off the ball to make a quick, spot-up three-point shot off the catch.

Plus, he also will get after it on the glass to help his team get rebounds, and he did a good job of drawing charges to help his team get stops defensively due to being in good position. However, he does not possess great physical tools, and he can struggle to defend players out on the perimeter, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Still, Mikesell is a tough, hard-nosed player that will compete relentlessly, as he was able to play very well to help get his team the victory. Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted, and he will need to show teams that he can make shots consistently and defend upper echelon opponents when facing elite competition, but Mikesell may have what it takes to find his way onto an NBA team’s summer league roster either in 2020 or sometime down the road.

Dayton’s 6-1 junior guard, Rodney Chatman had a good showing in his team’s win over Virginia Tech. He excelled at making three-point shots off the catch, and he has a lot of range on his shot. He also can sore off the dribble when attacking the basket, and he also showed a knack for finding cutters to notch assists. He did sometimes struggle to score in traffic, but he generally did a good job of shooting and passing the basketball on offense. Plus, he also defended well, as he managed to successfully draw a charge when defending on a drive, and he also contested a shot in the post to force a miss. Overall, Chatman is a tough, gritty combo guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is a skilled scorer that could be a prospect to watch for the 2021 draft.

Virginia Tech’s 6-3 freshman point guard, Hunter Cattoor did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes to space the floor for his team on offense, and he also can run off ball screens to make them. He was overshadowed a bit by his higher profile teammate, Nolley, but Cattoor is a smart, heady player that can knock down jump shots. While he may only be an average athlete, his ability to shoot and score the basketball really bodes well for the Hokies moving forward, and Cattoor could be a player to watch in the future.

Dayton’s 6-1 junior guard, Jalen Crutcher did not play nearly as well as he did the game before, as he had scored 20 points in his team’s win over Georgia, but he scored just 6 points in his team’s victory over Virginia Tech. In this game though, Crutcher still did a good job of knocking down spot-up threes, and he also was able to make some nice passes on the break. He also was active defensively as he would bring considerable ball pressure, and he also jumped a pass to get a steal. However, he also committed a couple of careless turnovers, and he also tended to commit reach-in fouls. In summary, Crutcher did not really stand out in this game, but he’s played well overall so far at the Maui Invitational, and he is a good shooter that could be a prospect to watch for the 2021 draft.

Dayton’s 6-5 junior guard, Ibi Watson flew in to score on a high-flying, tip dunk to close the half, and he also used a ball fake to make a three off the catch, but he otherwise was a non-factor in this game, as he struggled to consistently make threes from beyond the arc. Still, Watson is an athletic shooter that can knock down shots when called upon to do so, and he could be a prospect to watch for the 2021 draft.

Other Notes, Part II:

Georgia’s freshman guard, Anthony Edwards scored 37 points, as he also made 7 three-pointers in his team’s loss to Michigan State.  He scored 33 points in the second half, as his strong performance in this game at the Maui Invitational has been the talk of college basketball Twitter today.  Though he had an abysmal showing against Dayton, Edwards responded by having a very solid game against a highly ranked, Michigan State team.  If there were doubts about whether or not if he should be a top 3 pick, he certainly seemed to quell them in this game, as he did a very good job of shooting and scoring the basketball against the Spartans.

Stephen F. Austin had a terrific road win over Duke, as it is not easy for a team to win over a ranked opponent, and they did it in one of the toughest places for a road team to play in Cameron Indoors Stadium. Stephen F. Austin’s 6-6 senior swingman, Kevon Harris is a name to know for the 2020 NBA Draft, as he scored 26 points to help his team get a 85-83 win over Duke, and he is a scorer that may have the skills to provide instant offense for an NBA team at the next level.

A couple of weeks ago, Evansville had pulled a stunning upset victory over Kentucky at Rupp Arena, and Evansville’s 6-5 senior guard, K.J. Riley had led all scorers with 18 points in his team’s win on November 12th.  Riley is also another name to know for the 2020 NBA Draft, as he could project into a point forward type of role in the association.