After a successful senior season with the Wildcats, Jacob Toppin has signed a two-way deal with the New York Knicks, according to multiple reports.
Toppin spent his freshman season at Rhode Island before transferring to Kentucky to finish out his college career.
In his senior season with the Wildcats, he averaged 12.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game and was a key piece in Kentucky’s late-season push to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
Toppin announced he will enter the 2023 NBA Draft and forego his remaining college eligibility on March 31.
He was a key contributor for the Wildcats (22-12) this season, averaging 12.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while starting 31 of 33 games. He went from 17.7 minutes per game last season to 31.5 minutes per game this season while doubling his scoring, rebounding and assists per game from a year ago.
“I’m excited for Jacob to take this next step of chasing his dream of becoming a professional player,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Jacob has steadily improved every season and is ready for this next step. He has all of the tools to be successful in that league and is mentally prepared beyond measure to handle anything that comes his way. Proud of you, kid!!”
Over his last 16 games heading into Kentucky’s second round NCAA Tournament loss to Kansas State, Toppin averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists while shooting 51.4% from the floor and making 13 of 33 shots from beyond the arc (39.3%) with six double-doubles.
In Kentucky’s 61-53 win over Providence in the first round, Toppin dominated his head-to-head matchup against former Wildcat Bryce Hopkins, finishing with 18 points and six rebounds while limiting Hopkins to just seven points on 2 of 9 shooting and eight rebounds. Toppin, who scored in double figures for the 15th time in his last 16 games, also made six straight free throws over the final 1:14 to help close it out, and held Hopkins under 10 points for just the fifth time in 33 games this season while drawing a pair of charges and helping to force Hopkins into a game-high four turnovers.
With 712 points, Toppin finishes his career No. 7 all-time for most career points by a Kentucky transfer, behind only Kyle Macy (1,411), Oscar Tshiebwe (1,117), Bob Burrow (1,023), Travis Ford (961), Heshimu Evans (777), and Patrick Sparks (714).
The Wildcats had two players selected in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Cason Wallace drafted No. 10 overall and then traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, becoming the 15th top-1o pick of the Calipari era. Chris Livingston was taken with the final pick of the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 58th pick, marking the 16th consecutive draft Kentucky has produced multiple draft picks.
Since 2010, no school has produced more No. 1 overall picks (3), top-10 picks (15), lottery picks (23), first round picks (35) and total NBA Draft picks (47) than UK.
The longest-tenured member of the Wildcats this past season, Toppin began his career at Rhode Island as a class of 2019 recruit, then transferred to Kentucky during the 2020 offseason. He appeared in 86 career games with the Cats and started in 37.
For his career in Lexington, Toppin averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per outing.
The Brooklyn (NY) native had his best collegiate season this past year, averaging 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He had 23 double-figure scoring efforts and hit 50% of his 3-point attempts during SEC play while recording eight double-doubles.
Toppin’s best game came in the annual rivalry battle with the Louisville Cardinals, where he scored a career-high 24 points and racked up seven boards.
John Calipari confirmed Toppin’s deal with the Knicks on Twitter, writing that Oscar Tshiebwe, who also went undrafted, also has options, which he is currently weighing.
Toppin finished his senior season at Kentucky averaging 12.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 31.5 minutes per contest. He closed out his career averaging 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in three seasons. Before that, the Brooklyn native put up 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in his freshman year at Rhode Island.
John Calipari attended the draft with Cason Wallace and his family but left after Wallace went in the first round to celebrate his anniversary with his wife. On Twitter, he admitted there was a “miscommunication” with Livingston and he didn’t realize he was at the draft as well, otherwise, he would have stayed with him until his name was called.
“I am so happy for Cason and Chris to be drafted,” Calipari tweeted early this morning. “We had some miscommunication and I didn’t realize Chris was at Barclays until I saw him on TV. I let him know last night that I would’ve stayed and sat with him if I had realized he was there.”
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