Day­ton’s Top­pin, Grant claim AP top hon­ors

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - SPORTS -

Obi Top­pin and An­thony Grant spent the sea­son trans­form­ing Day­ton from an un­ranked team that wasn’t even picked to win its con­fer­ence into one of the na­tion’s best, com­plete with the most wins in pro­gram his­tory.

The pair be­hind the Fly­ers’ re­mark­able rise claimed The Associated Press’ top in­di­vid­ual hon­ors: Top­pin is the men’s col­lege bas­ket­ball player of the year and Grant is the coach of the year.

“Our team is very ap­pre­cia­tive of what we ac­com­plished,” Top­pin told the AP, “just be­cause we made his­tory at our school.”

In­deed. Day­ton (29-2) went from be­ing picked to fin­ish third in the At­lantic 10 to No. 3 in the fi­nal Top 25 poll, match­ing the pro­gram’s best poll fin­ish, first set in 1956. .

Now Day­ton has its first win­ners of the AP’s top awards, join­ing St. Joseph’s in 2004 (with Jameer Nel­son and coach Phil Martelli) as the only pro­grams in the past 40 sea­sons to claim both in the same year.

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound Top­pin fol­lowed his unan­i­mous se­lec­tion to the AP All-Amer­ica first team by ap­pear­ing on 34 of 65 bal­lots from Top 25 vot­ers, who sub­mit­ted bal­lots af­ter the can­cel­la­tion of the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

Iowa ju­nior Luka Garza was sec­ond in the bal­lot­ing, earn­ing 24 votes af­ter av­er­ag­ing 23.9 points and 9.8 re­bounds for the Hawkeyes. Fel­low Al­lAmer­i­cans Markus Howard of Mar­quette, Pay­ton Pritchard of Ore­gon and Udoka Azubuike of Kansas split the re­main­ing votes.

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