Editor's note: This story was originally published on Nov. 13 and has been updated to reflect the New York Knicks selecting Obi Toppin in the 2020 NBA draft.
Dayton's Obi Toppin was the best player in college basketball last season, with an offensive game built for the modern NBA. He's a ferocious dunker, the son of a New York streetball legend known as "Dunkers Delight." He's an effortless floor spacer and a career 41.7% 3-point shooter. He's an outstanding passer and an efficient scorer, posting a 69.4 true shooting percentage over the course of 64 college games. And he plays with a joy and charisma that appeals to basketball fans everywhere.
On Thursday, Toppin was selected with the No. 8 pick by his hometown New York Knicks.
In a class with so much uncertainty, why wasn't Toppin a candidate for the top pick in the 2020 draft? For starters, 22-year-olds drafted in the top 10 don't have the strongest track record. Outside of Damian Lillard in 2012, here's the rest of the list over the past decade:
2015: Frank Kaminsky (No. 9)
2011: Jimmer Fredette (No. 10)
2010: Wesley Johnson (No. 4), Ekpe Udoh (No. 6 overall)
But Toppin has carved a different path than most prospects his age.
"I'm not going to lie, I didn't think I was going to go anywhere after my high school career," Toppin told ESPN. "I thought I was going to go to [junior college], maybe go to another school after that, maybe go overseas."
And what would Toppin's own mother have said if she had been told five years ago that he would be a top draft prospect? "April Fools'," Roni Toppin responded with a laugh.
Toppin has already made one unlikely leap from forgettable high school prospect to college basketball star. Does his unusual trajectory put him on track for a second jump at the NBA level?