Knicks lottery pick makes tearful vow to hometown fans

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The New York Knicks selected Dayton forward Obi Toppin with the No. 8 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Toppin, eligible for the draft as a redshirt sophomore, was the 2019-20 AP Player of the Year after averaging 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds for the 29-2 Flyers, who won the Atlantic 10 Conference and won their final 20 in a row.

The 22-year-old, who was born in Brooklyn, only played one season of high school varsity ball, leading Ossining High School to a 17-5 record and a conference title in 2016 while averaging 20.6 points, 8.1 boards, and 3.0 assists. He then played one year of prep ball at Mt. Zion Prep in Baltimore – where he averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, and four assists – before joining Dayton.

One heck of a rise, which he referenced when asked by ESPN’s Malika Andrews what he would have said if, five years ago, his mother had told him he would be an NBA player – a feat she said she “would think was an April Fool’s joke.”

“I wouldn’t have believed her,” an emotional Toppin said. “This is a blessing. I just want to thank God, without him I wouldn’t be here. And my parents, my coaches, my teammate right here (fellow Flyer Jalen Crutcher)…I’m very grateful, and it’s a blessing to be in this position.”

There were reports that the Knicks had discussions with Cleveland to move up to No. 5 in an attempt to secure Toppin, but he was still available at No. 8, and couldn’t have been happier to be coming home.

“I’m from New York, that’s why it’s important. Me repping my city is amazing!” Toppin said. “A lot of people pray to be in this position, and I promise you I will not take it for granted.”

You can read WFAN.com's John Schmeelk’s capsule profile of Toppin here.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN

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