Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kentucky officially announces addition of Jacob Toppin
Kentucky on Monday officially announced the addition of Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin, who signed his official paperwork with the university this past weekend.
Jacob, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward and the younger brother of Naismith and Wooden Award winner Obi Toppin,committed to Kentucky April 15.
Toppin appeared in 30 games with three starts in his first and only season at Rhode Island and averaged 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Under current NCAA
transfer rules, Toppin will have three seasons of eligibility remaining
with the Wildcats starting in the 2021-22 season. He is expected to
enroll at UK and begin practicing with the team in
“I chose Kentucky
because I wanted an environment that would challenge me to chase
greatness on the court,” Toppin said. “I love the fact that Coach Cal
asked about my interests and goals as a player and told
me that they would help me chase them. I love that the players that go
there are about the team and winning, which is in line with what I’m
“I have heard so much
about the Big Blue Nation and I’m excited to play for and be a part of
that atmosphere. I am blessed and excited to begin my journey at
Toppin is the brother of
Dayton’s Obi Toppin, the consensus national player of the year in
2019-20. Like his brother Obi, who averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds
and 2.2 assists per game as a redshirt sophomore
this season, Jacob possesses a high upside with good size and great
Brooklyn, New York, the three-star prospect out of Woodstock Academy in
Woodstock, Connecticut, became an immediate contributor for a Rhode
Island team that went 21-9 on the season and finished
13-5 in the Atlantic 10.
“I’m really excited
about the addition of Jacob,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Not
only is he a great athlete, he’s a tremendous kid. He has some
experience, but he’s only scratched the surface of how good
he can be. My hope is our culture brings out the best in him.
“Jacob wanted this
challenge and wanted to be here. He understands what this culture is and
what it isn’t. He’s talented, athletic and can shoot, plus he’s a
terrific student and young man. He’s going to be an
important part of this program. I can’t wait to coach him.”
Toppin marks the second transfer for the Wildcats during the spring signing period. Last week,
UK officially added Davion Mintz, a graduate transfer from Creighton who will provide immediate depth and versatility to Kentucky’s backcourt in 2020-21.
Although, under current
NCAA transfer rules, Toppin will be unable to help with the immediate
void of Kentucky’s major roster overhaul from this past season – an
exodus that includes the losses of seven of UK’s
top eight scorers from 2019-20 with five underclassmen declaring for
the NBA Draft – he will add depth and experience in practice.
Toppin scored in double
figures five times in his freshman season, highlighted by 12 points and
eight rebounds vs. Richmond, a potential at-large NCAA Tournament team
this past season, and 12 points in 11 minutes
vs. Saint Joseph’s. He also performed well vs. his future Southeastern
Conference foes Alabama and LSU, scoring 11 points and 10,
respectively, in nonconference play.
The 190-pound forward
showed an ability to stretch the floor with 13 3-pointers, including
three vs. Alabama. He shot 42.6% from the floor overall.
Although UK has added
graduate transfers in each of the last three seasons, Toppin will mark
Kentucky’s first traditional transfer since Ryan Harrow, who transferred
from NC State in 2011-12 and suited up for
Kentucky in 2012-13.
Nine newcomers have
officially signed with UK since the fall signing period, including seven
freshmen that make up the nation’s consensus No. 1 ranked recruiting
The 2020-21 Wildcats will be tasked with replacing 94% of their scoring and 84.4% of their rebounding from this past season.
(Release via UK Athletics)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.