Observing Obi Toppin in the Dayton-Rhode Island Game

March 5th, 2020

by Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to take the time to watch Dayton’s redshirt sophomore big man, Obi Toppin play in an Atlantic-10 basketball game against Rhode Island that took place on March 4th. Toppin has played really well this season, and has been a sleeper candidate to potentially be the top pick of this draft. Therefore, I decided to watch him play against another NCAA tournament caliber team. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Obi Toppin could be a top 5 pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: David Kohl/USA Today Sports, via SB Nation's Mid Major Madness.)
Dayton’s redshirt senior big man, Obi Toppin played well, as he scored 20 points in his team’s blowout win over Rhode Island. (Photo: David Kohl/USA Today Sports, via SB Nation’s Mid Major Madness.)

Obi Toppin had a solid showing in his team’s blowout win over Rhode Island. He excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he also made some good passes and defensive plays at times, but he also struggled with his on-ball defense when he was on the floor.

Toppin really excelled at scoring on hustle plays in this game. He runs the floor very well, as he has very good speed in the open court, and he threw down a couple of thunderous jams, as he also scored on a terrific windmill dunk on the break once. He also caught a lob pass off of a roll to score on an alley-oop dunk, and he also scored on a hard cut to the hoop another time. He did a great job of moving off the ball to get scores on offense, and he would put himself in spots where his teammates could easily find him to get him the basketball.

He also did a very good job of scoring off of drives as well as in the post. Toppin was able to drive hard from the high post to score on a powerful dunk, and he also used a spin move to draw free throws on a turnaround jumper from the post another time. He showed a knack for drawing fouls to get to the free throw line, and he showed good foot speed, strength, and scoring touch when taking the ball to the rim.

Plus, he also shot the ball well against Rhode Island. Toppin was able to make an open corner three to show his shooting range in this game. He did miss a pull-up, mid-range shot after using a spin move to get his shot off, but he was efficient in knocking down three-point shots, and he showed a good ability to make spot-up jumpers off the catch.

He also displayed fairly good playmaking skills. Toppin threw good passes off the dribble, as he would find the open man to set up scores for his teammates, and he also passes well out of the post. He also can find cutters on the move, and he also would set good screens to help get his teammates open jump shots. He also did not commit a single turnover on offense, as he did a very good job of taking care of the basketball against Rhode Island.

While he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to collect boards on both ends of the floor. Toppin was able to leap up to get an offensive rebound, and he also chased down a ball to get a defensive board another time due to possessing a good motor to do so.

Defensively, Toppin looked to be about average at best. For the positives, he was able to sprint back to block a mid-range shot to get a stop for his team, and Toppin also would contest threes to force misses. However, he also struggled to defend opponents off the dribble, and he generally had trouble defending quicker players in space in this game. He would tend to get beat off the dribble when defending off of drives and in the post, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores. He also sagged too far off his man another time, as he ended up allowing his man to score on a deep three. There was also another play where he bit on a pump fake, and got beat to allow a score off of a drive another time.

In general, Obi Toppin played well to help lead his team to another double-digit win on the season. He primarily excelled as a shooter and scorer on the floor, and he also tended to make good decisions on offense. He will need to improve his defense, but he is a very talented, skilled prospect that could be a likely lottery pick for the upcoming draft, as he could end up being a solid player in the NBA.

Just in case if you guys needed to see Obi Toppin’s mesmerizing windmill dunk that he threw down on the break, here it is, courtesy of Sportscenter, via Mid-Major Madness.

Other Notes:

Dayton’s junior guard, Jalen Crutcher put forth a very good performance to lead his team to a victory over Rhode Island. He excelled as a scorer and facilitator in this game, and he made shots and collected assists in this game.

Crutcher excelled at scoring on smooth drives to the basket. He has a good first step off the dribble, and he also has good body control that enables him to regularly finish plays at the rim. He was able to switch hands to score on a nifty, scoop shot, and he also scored on a floater on a drive on the break. Crutcher also showed a knack for drawing fouls upon defenders to get to the free throw line, and he did a great job of making them when he was there.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers to space the floor for his team. Crutcher was able to use a step back move to make a long two off the dribble, and he also made a deep three from well beyond the arc another time. However, he struggled to make threes consistently, as he would miss shots from way out, and he also had trouble knocking down pull-up threes against Rhode Island.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills. Crutcher can quickly get into the lane, and he would tend to throw good passes off the dribble to find open shooters and teammates around the basket to set up scores for them. However, sometimes he can be inaccurate with his passes when heavily pressured or trapped by defenders, as he had a pass that was intercepted, and he also threw an inaccurate lob pass that went astray another time. Also, he was able to help out on the glass to get his fair share of boards when he was on the floor.

In summary, Jalen Crutcher played very well in his team’s win over Rhode Island. He is an athletic, skilled playmaker that can shoot and pass the basketball, and he did a good job of making shots and passes to help his team on offense. He has excelled in his role for his team this season. Though he has not drawn much draft buzz, he is a skilled player that could end up being a good find for an NBA team at the next level.

Dayton’s 6-5 senior forward, Trey Landers played very well in his team’s win over Rhode Island. He excelled at scoring and rebounding the basketball, and he is a strong, physical player that can consistently outmuscle his opponents to provide his team with points and rebounds in the paint.

He excelled at scoring on strong drives to the basket. He was able to score on an acrobatic, up and under move, and he showed a knack for driving in from the high post to garner scores. Landers also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he was able to score off of cuts and put backs, and he did a great job of finishing plays around the basket. He also showed a good ability to take on the extra contact to draw extra free throws after getting scores at the rim.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. Landers is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man to notch assists. However, he was called for committing a couple of ball-handling turnovers due to carelessness, and he also was called for basket interference on a questionable call that would’ve netted him a score off of a tip-in had that call not been made.

Landers also did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball. He would often leap up to haul in many boards to help his team on the glass, and he was a chairman of the boards in this game. On the downside, he did commit a couple of over the back fouls when going for offensive boards, but it can be duly noted that Landers was the only player to collect a double-digit number of boards in this game.

Also, Landers played adequate defense. He was able to block a three-point shot due to possessing good athleticism, timing, and instincts. He also possesses great strength that enables him to hold his ground when defending in the post, as he would contest shots down there to force misses. He also would actively contest jumpers to get additional stops for his team. Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend off the dribble or in the post, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Landers is a tough, energetic player that really excelled at getting scores and rebounds to help his team in the paint. He’ll need to add a three-point shot to his arsenal, and if he does, he could end up being a solid role player at the next level, as an added jump shot could allow him to thrive in a role similar to P.J. Tucker in the NBA.

Rhode Island’s 6-3 senior guard, Jeff Dowtin had a fairly good showing in his team’s loss to Dayton. He excelled at knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense, as he especially showed a knack for making corner threes, and he also made a pull-up three late in this game. On the downside, he struggled more to score off the dribble, as he would frequently miss on drives to the hoop, and he also had trouble making pull-up, mid-range jumpers. Dowtin doesn’t possess overwhelming foot speed, so he had trouble creating his own shot off the dribble when he would look to take the ball to the rim.

He also showed off decent playmaking skills, as he would throw long, accurate passes to set up scores for his teammates. However, he did commit one turnover by dribbling a ball off of his foot on the break that ended up out of bounds.

Also, he was able to chip in to get boards on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he looked to be about average. He was able to jump on a loose ball to get a steal, and he will also fight through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers. On the downside, he had trouble guarding opponents off the dribble or in the post, which would lead him to commit fouls. He also sagged too far off his man when guarding a shooter, which led him to allow his man to score on a corner three that time.

Overall, Jeff Dowtin is a smart, skilled playmaker that shoots the ball well, and he primarily excelled as a spot-up shooter and ball mover for Rhode Island. He’s not a super explosive athlete, so he may not project to be much of a shot creator at the next level, and he will need to improve his on-ball defense to show that he can lock down quicker players on the defensive end. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate, but his jump shot and ability to distribute the basketball could allow him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster later this year.

Rhode Island’s 6-8 senior big man, Cyril Langevine played fairly well in his team’s loss to Dayton. He played solid defense, and he showed a decent ability to score the basketball. However, he had trouble making his free throws, as he missed his last six free throws after making his first two when he would attempt that at the foul line.

He showed a decent ability to score in the post as well as off of put backs. Langevine was able to score on a strong put back in traffic, and he has a very quick spin move in the post that enables him to get past his man to draw free throws afterwards. Plus, he also managed to use a quick spin move to score on a smooth layup. However, he was unable to score off the dribble early on, and he also missed on a dunk attempt after running the floor to get the ball on the break. In addition, he did not make a jumper from outside of the paint, and his inability to make free throws suggests he has a long way to go before he’ll be able to develop a reliable jump shot to his arsenal.

He also was quite turnover prone on offense. For the positives, Langevine showed a willingness to pass out of the post. However, he had some trouble protecting and handling the basketball when faced with some ball pressure, which would lead him to commit turnovers. He also missed an opportunity to find an open teammate on a cut, as he may not possess great court vision for a player his size, either, and he collected zero assists in this game.

Langevine did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would actively crash the glass to get boards for his team on both ends of the floor. He also played solid defense. He would block and alter shots off of drives due to possessing good athleticism, leaping ability, and timing, and he also was able to get into an opponent’s feet to get a stop when defending in the post. He also managed to contest a drive to force a miss. However, there was one play where he didn’t stay between his man and the ball on a drive, as he allowed his own man to get open to score underneath the basket once.

Overall, Cyril Langevine is an athletic big man that could potentially project to be a defensive specialist at the next level. He is an agile, fleet-footed player that moves well, and he showed a knack for blocking shots in this game. However, he will have to be a more skilled offensive player, as he didn’t show an ability to make jump shots outside of the paint area, and he seemed to struggle to handle the ball more when he would be further away from the basket. He’s also a bit undersized to play inside at the next level, so it would benefit him greatly if he were to add an outside shot. Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted, but he is a talented enough player to end up making an NBA team’s summer league roster later this year.

Early on, it appeared as if Rhode Island’s diminutive, 5-10 junior point guard, Fatts Russell would be headed towards having a good game, as he really showed off very good foot speed to get quick scores and free throws off the dribble, and he also showed a decent ability to get into the lane and kick balls out to shooters to notch assists.

However, he was unable to knock down any of his three-point shots, and so defenders could key in on his drives to force him to miss on tough drives in traffic. He tended to try to force the issue by rushing up shots down the stretch, and he ended up having a bad shooting night as a result, as he ended up scoring just 9 points on 2 for 13 shooting from the field.  Overall, Russell is a speedy playmaker that can play well when he plays under control, but he will need to improve his jump shot and show that he can consistently score in traffic. He will likely need to stay in school to hone his game, but he could potentially be a second round pick for the 2021 draft.

Dayton’s 6-5 junior guard, Ibi Watson played well off the bench to help get his team a double-digit victory over Rhode Island. He showed an adequate ability to get scores off the dribble, as he has a decent first step to the hoop, and he also managed to make a corner three to provide floor spacing for his team. He also is an active and alert defender that will apply considerable ball pressure, and he also leapt up to block a shot off of a drive to get a stop on the defensive end. Overall, Watson had a solid showing in this game, and he could be a player to watch for the 2021 draft.

Rhode Island’s 6-8 sophomore big man, Jermaine Harris showed a penchant for scoring on strong, left-handed drives, particularly from the high post, as he has a good first step off the dribble, and he gave Toppin some fits in the first half due to his foot-speed when looking to score off the bounce.

Harris also was active defensively, as he intercepted a pass to get a steal, and also showed good lateral mobility when defending out on the perimeter that helped him get his opponent to travel on another play. On the downside, Harris was unable to make any of his three-point shots, did not pass the ball well, and was foul prone when trying to contest shots when guarding opponents off the dribble.

Overall, Jermaine Harris is a strong, athletic player that showed that he can score off the dribble, but he will need to improve his jump shot to be able to take advantage of that skill set, as that would open up the floor for him to score even more.   He will need to stay in school to hone his overall game, but he could be a player worth keeping tabs on for the future.