John Calipari and the Kentucky coaching staff have pulled off yet another surprise.
This afternoon, Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin – brother of former Dayton superstar and National Player of the Year Obi Toppin – announced his commitment to the program, choosing the Wildcats over finalists Oregon and Iowa State.
— Jtoppin_21 (@Jtoppin21) April 16, 2020
Not long after, the Kentucky basketball program unofficially introduced Toppin into #LaFamilia, comparing the newest Wildcat to former UK forward Kevin Knox:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) April 16, 2020
Toppin, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound forward originally out of Brooklyn, NY, averaged 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 30 games played as a freshman, including three starts.
On Monday, Toppin announced on Instagram that he will enter the transfer portal.
“I would like to start off by thanking the entire URI family,” Toppin wrote. “I also want to thank the coaching staff and players. This past year has been a great learning experience. After thoroughly thinking things through, I’ve decided that it is best for me to enter my name in the portal. This decision has nothing to do with anyone on the coaching staff. I feel moving forward, this is what is best for me. I wish everyone nothing but the best moving forward. Love you Rhody Nation.”
Now, Toppin will join Creighton point guard Davion Mintz as the newest transfers to commit to Kentucky, with Purdue center Matt Haarms also seen as a legitimate (and likely) possibility in the coming days.
As of today, Toppin will have to sit out a year as a traditional transfer, though the NCAA is still contemplating a potential one-time immediate eligibility transfer rule that would allow the 6-foot-8 forward to play right away. Last week, Kendall Rogers or D1Baseball.com reported that the NCAA Division I Council would discuss the one-time transfer waiver on April 24 before officially voting on the matter on May 20.
Though Jon Rothstein reported that the vote – originally set for June – was likely to pass, but not implemented until the 2021-22 season, Rogers is hearing the NCAA will ultimately decide to pass the rule immediately.
Whether he can play next season or must sit out, the long, athletic forward with solid versatility is expected to be a multi-year prospect with serious long-term potential, giving the Wildcats a strong depth piece as his game and body develop in Lexington.
Check out Toppin’s high school highlight tape below:
Welcome to the family, Mr. Toppin.