With NBA Draft season quickly approaching, the stay-or-go decisions for college players across the country are starting to roll out.
For the Kentucky Wildcats, we have seen TyTy Washington decide to enter the draft, while Oscar Tshiebwe and Keion Brooks are both going to go through the process but retain their eligibility.
One player that we haven't heard much about though is Jacob Toppin.
Toppin has turned into a fan favorite over his two seasons in Lexington, and according to Jack Pilgrim of KSR, Toppin is expected to return to for a third season in the program.
“Toppin is expected to return in 2022-23, building on a solid junior season in Lexington,” said Pilgrim in his insider notes.
This season, Toppin played 18 minutes per game in which he averaged 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest.
With the 4 position potentially wide open next season, this could finally be the break-out year fans have been expecting from the athletic forward. The main question mark in all of this is will Keion Brooks return to Lexington?
Either way, Toppin’s return should get fans excited.
Over the course of the past year, Toppin flashed glimpses of offense growth. You can look to the first half of the LSU game in Baton Rouge as an example. Not to mention his ability to be a lock-down defender on all five positions on the court.
With the way the game is changing, Toppin's skillset fits exactly what NBA teams are looking for out of their four position. Guys that can protect the rim, cut to the basket, and knock down an open jumper on a consistent basis. Add in his absurd athleticism, and he has all the tools to be a star.
One growth point that I hope comes out of this offseason though is his ability to consistently knock-down the corner three. If John Calipari truly wants to play a 4-out offense, then Toppin has to be able to hit that shot to play within that offense. Heck, he will need to knock down that shot if he wants to make it in the league.
This offseason will be huge for Toppin, and the steps he takes towards improving his game for a breakout 2022-23. Lock in another solid player to next season's roster.