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Jacob Toppin returning to Kentucky: “It’s time for NINE!”

The high-flying Toppin will be a key piece to UK’s frontcourt next season.

Jacob Toppin Big Blue Drew - Sea of Blue

Anybody interested in a third year of the ultra-athletic Jacob Toppin wearing a Kentucky Wildcats uniform?

I believe the answer would be a resounding yes from most every member of the Big Blue Nation.

Hopefully you’re on board, because Jacob Toppin has in fact formally announced his intentions to return to Lexington for his senior season, and he’s ready to hang banner No. 9.

After battling some injuries early in the season, Toppin would go on to average 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 55% from the field in 2021-2022.

Despite suffering a loss that day, one of my favorite plays of the season was Toppin’s filthy 360 dunk on the road at No. 1 Auburn.

The vicious slam prompted me to pose a question to fans and media members.

Do any other former UK players have an in-game 360 dunk under their belt?

The only name that was provided was mid-90s superstar Walter McCarty.

I mention this for no other reason than to call attention to Jacob Toppin’s unicorn like athleticism and moxie.

His off-season development in and the currently unknown roster additions will have a lot to do with how John Calipari utilizes him.

With Keion Brooks Jr. likely leaving for a different school, it’s possible that Jacob Toppin’s return means that he could potentially fill that starting frontcourt role next year.

The debate of Brooks vs. Toppin at the four spot was seemingly endless last year.

Both players brought something unique to the table but neither were stellar in the consistency department which forced Calipari to operate in a game-to-game evaluation mode.

I don’t consider it to be controversial when I say that Jacob Toppin has about as high of a ceiling as any one of his teammates since he arrives at Kentucky.

His vertical leaping ability and nose for the ball allow for him to make plays that others just can’t.

To put it simply — Even though he’s an upperclassmen — Jacob Toppin has a freakishly high-ceiling.

He only played only 16 minutes while contributing nine points in UK’s embarrassing loss to 15th seeded Saint Peter’s in the NCAA Tournament.

Among the many head-scratching moments from that Round of 64 loss, not playing Jacob Toppin more than those 16 minutes probably ranks at the top of my list.

He did have this spectacular dunk and amazing blocked shot.

Jacob Toppin slams home an alley oop during the first half of UK’s first round loss to St. Peter’s
Big Blue Drew
Big Blue Drew

Ideally, Toppin will continue to polish his offensive arsenal in preparation for next season.

Many have argued that playing Non-shooters like Oscar Tshiebwe and Jacob Toppin together is creating a road block in the paint for Calipari’s offense.

Jacob Toppin did shoot 40% from three a season ago, but it was on very limited attempts, as most defenses treated him as a non-threat out on the perimeter.

Regardless of how he’s utilized it’ll be great for next year’s team to have the presence of a veteran like Jacob Toppin.

In my interactions with him, it’s always evident that he adores the city of Lexington and the fans.

Welcome back, Jacob.