Atlantic 10 awards: Obi Toppin makes Dayton Flyers history

Three other Dayton players honored Tuesday

Redshirt freshman forward Obi Toppin and sophomore point guard Jalen Crutcher walked into the Cronin Center, where the Dayton Flyers practice on campus, a few minutes after 2 p.m. Tuesday. They were looking at their phones but didn't appear to have heard the news about the All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors, which were announced minutes earlier.

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Both players were told to head upstairs to coach Anthony Grant's office. At that moment, they looked as if they been told to visit the principal's office, but they weren't in trouble. It was quite the opposite. Grant wanted to reveal the A-10 news to them personally.

For Toppin, especially, it was big news. He has made history all season with his dunks, field-goal percentage and scoring. All that added up to him winning the A-10 Rookie of the Year Award — he's the first Dayton player to take home that award — and being named to the A-10 first team and all-rookie team. No freshman had made the first team since Rhode Island's Lamar Odom in 1999.

"It means the world to me," Toppin said. "I've got to give all the credit to my teammates. They helped me get these awards. I'm just honored."

Crutcher, who made the all-rookie team last season, was named to the A-10 third team, and he was joined on that team by redshirt senior forward Josh Cunningham, who was also a third-team selection last season. It's the first time since 2017 Dayton has had three players make the all-conference teams.

» DUNK TRACKER: List of Toppin's slams

Redshirt junior forward Ryan Mikesell made the all-academic team. He's the first Dayton player to receive that honor since Luke Fabrizius in 2012.

While Toppin earning the rookie of the year honor surprised no one — he won the rookie of the week award seven times — there was some question as to whether he would end up on the first team because he ranks 15th in the conference in scoring (14.4).

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However, the A-10's 14 head coaches, who voted on the awards, recognized Toppin's efficiency. He ranks fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage (67.3) and second in dunks (80). He also averages 5.6 rebounds.

Toppin also has improved each month of the season. He averaged 12.0 points in January, 17.0 in February and has averaged 19.3 in March. In his last 12 games, he has averaged 18.3 points and 7.9 rebounds.

Grant credited Toppin's work ethic for his improvement.

"There's no substitute for that," Grant said. "That's what the answer is in everything you do as a competitor. I'm just really proud of the work he's put in and being able to reap the benefits of that."

Here’s the full list of award winners:

2018-19 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Awards

Player of the Year

Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Davidson

Defensive Player of the Year

Javon Bess, Saint Louis

Rookie of the Year

Obi Toppin, Dayton

Chris Daniels Most Improved Player

Justin Kier, George Mason

Sixth Man of the Year

Tavian Dunn-Martin, Duquesne

Coach of the Year

Mike Rhoades, VCU

All-Conference First Team

Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Davidson

Kellan Grady, Davidson

Obi Toppin, Dayton

Courtney Stockard, St. Bonaventure

Marcus Evans, VCU

All-Conference Second Team

Justin Kier, George Mason

Cyril Langevine, Rhode Island

Jacob Gilyard, Richmond

Charlie Brown, Jr., Saint Joseph’s

Javon Bess, Saint Louis

All-Conference Third Team

Jalen Crutcher, Dayton

Josh Cunningham, Dayton

Grant Golden, Richmond

Hasahn French, Saint Louis

De’Riante Jenkins, VCU

All-Academic Team

Ryan Mikesell, Dayton

Justin Mazzulla, George Washington

Jeff Dowtin, Rhode Island

Noah Yates, Richmond

Marcus Evans, VCU

All-Defensive Team

Cyril Langevine, Rhode Island

Jacob Gilyard, Richmond

Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure

Javon Bess, Saint Louis

Hasahn French, Saint Louis

All-Rookie Team

Sincere Carry, Duquesne

Nick Honor, Fordham

Obi Toppin, Dayton

Kyle Lofton, St. Bonaventure Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure

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