One of the most common trends in college basketball, specifically at the University of Kentucky, is for a player to test the NBA draft waters by putting their name in the draft while maintaining their college eligibility by either hiring an NCAA approved agent or not hiring an agent at all. This allows a player to see what NBA executives think of them as a professional prospect, allowing them to either return back to college while knowing exactly what they need to work on or decide that their draft stock is high enough to stay in the draft and take the next step to the NBA.
Jacob Toppin has announced this afternoon that he will be the next player to take this route; he will enter his name in the 2022 NBA Draft while maintaining college eligibility throughout, allowing for the possible, and probable, return to Kentucky for his senior season.
“First I would like to thank God for all of my blessings,” Toppin said. “I would also like to thank all of the people who have been a part of my journey: my family, coaches, teammates, trainers and teachers. Big Blue Nation, the best fans in the world, thank you for all of the support. I love you all! After discussing my future plans with my family and coaches, I have decided to enter my name in the 2022 NBA Draft. Throughout this process I will be keeping my eligibility.”
“I think Jacob is making a good decision for him and his family by using the resources that the NCAA allows. I’m in full support of Jacob’s desire to explore his options,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Jacob is as athletic as any player who I’ve coached and has really begun to come into his own on the court. He has all of the tools to be successful in this game, but his willingness to share and be a great teammate is a difference maker.”
Jacob Toppin, a transfer from Rhode Island who has spent two seasons in Lexington, has been a fan favorite at Kentucky. His energy, tenacity, and ability to make highlight dunks casually in a game has made him a player that the Big Blue Nation loves to watch every time he steps on the floor. Toppin averaged 6.2 points on 55.6% shooting and 3.2 rebounds in the 6th-7th man role for the Cats this past season.
While he has been a very productive player in college basketball and has tons of potential, he still is not projected on anyone's mock drafts or big boards of top professional prospects. For this reason, I expect that Jacob Toppin, after going through the draft process, will remove his name from the draft and return to Kentucky with the knowledge of what he needs to work on to go to the NBA the following offseason. If Toppin returns, he can once again provide huge minutes for the Cats as a sixth man and potentially even as our starting power forward.