Jacob Toppin becomes the fourth Wildcat to make his offseason decision, joining Ugonna Onyenso, Sahiv Wheeler, and Brennan Canada. The three-year Wildcat and senior in college basketball announced Friday that he would be declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft, forgoing any college eligibility left remaining.
“Before we even start, I want to thank God, because without him, none of this would be possible,” Toppin said. “I want to thank my mom, because without her sacrifice me nor my brother would be the men we are today. I want to thank all my family and friends for supporting me along this journey."
He continued with, “To Big Blue Nation: ever since I was a kid, it’s always been a dream of mine to be able to play at the highest level of basketball. I came to Kentucky to chase that dream and in my time here, I’ve grown tremendously not only as a player but as a man. This place has taught me things that I will take with me for the rest of my life. For that, I want to thank my coaches and my teammates and most importantly the fans. Your support and passion are things I’ll never forget, and I will carry with me. It has been a memorable time for me, and Kentucky will forever hold a special place in my heart. I’ve loved my time here, but I’m ready to finally fulfill my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA. With that being said I will be entering my name into the 2023 NBA Draft. Go Big Blue!”
Jacob was a starter for Kentucky this season, which will result in over 31.5 minutes a game that is exiting the door this summer. Not just that, but 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds of (averages) stats recored this season during the 33 games he suited up for. The Brooklyn native and Rhode Island transfer played in 86 career games at Kentucky, starting for 37 of them. He had the best season of his career this year, so it makes perfect sense as to why he'd choose to exit this offseason and not return for another year. in the 2022-23 season, Jacob set career-highs for points, rebounds, assists, minutes played, field goals and free-throws made, per the school.
Toppin will be remembered by a lot of things from his time here, whether that be that he's the younger brother of Obi Toppin, his jaw-dropping dunks and pinned blocks on defense, or on a more serious note, the way he was able to pull himself out of a dark mental health hole this winter and find success on the court afterwards. He was very open about it all and it was truly inspiring to see. I advise you to watch Maggie Davis' piece on him below.
While I admire Jacob for opening up about those things, because with his platform it will help many more people with their battles as well, I did want to reiterate that today is about happiness and support, and for us to enjoy the good times that he had here also. With that being said, here was one of my most favorite plays of his career, one which will get replayed every time he is brought up I'm sure of.
Good luck to Jacob Toppin and I hope he earns everything he can dream of at the next level. I'm so glad he decided to come here in 2020, and he sure has been through a lot during those years. He is stronger because of that, and we've watched a boy become a man here. Sure will miss ya, Jacob.