That man has done it again. Today it was announced that our man Obi has indeed won the Naismith Player of the Year Award, to go along with the CBS Sports Player of the Year, the NBC Sports Player of the Year and the Associate Press Player of the Year, along with other publications that aren’t noteworthy enough to come to mind off the top of my head whilst writing this article. (Odds were listed at +150 at SBD)
If Dayton fans have learned anything in this early offseason, it’s that we all collectively had no idea just how many “Player of the Year” awards there were in college basketball, simply because, well, it was never something we needed to worry about as Dayton fans. Obi becomes only the third A10 player ever to win this award, joining Marcus Camby at UMass in 1996 and Jameer Nelson at St. Joes in 2004.
But alas, here we are, a belly full of nothing in regards to basketball games with a full shelf of awards to show for it. While this season will always feel hollow and empty for generations to come, the national recognition of Obi as Player of the Year, and Anthony Grant as Coach of the Year will likely serve as a straight jacket for months; keeping Flyer Nation just secure enough in our own surroundings until November that we don’t kill those around us in quarantine.
Even if you’re willing to debate the usefulness of such awards in a season that ultimately amounted to nothing, these awards are all well deserved for Mr. Toppin and serve as a rightful reminder of just how dominant he was in the 2020 campaign. Even though this team was not able to realize the fruits of their labor in the traditional manner, it is great to see them be recognized through the lens of propelling Obi to Player of the Year. Obi has said in every interview, at every juncture, that all the credit goes to his teammates, and I am certain he has been doing the same in these times to remind anyone who’s listening that all parts of this Dayton team were special and deserved recognition. Our boy Stat Matt wrote on this very website last week about how Obi was more efficient than his challenger, Luka Garza, and made a compelling case for why stones must not be thrown by opposing fanbases.
Selfishly, its my civic duty to remind everyone what these kinds of accolades can do for both the perception of the basketball program in Dayton, as well as the boost of recruiting that goes along with it. If UD is willing to dedicate an entire wall to “NBA Players Anthony Grant Coached But Never Attended UD” you can bet your whole ass they’re drawing up plans to re-design an entire wing of the basketball facility for the awards raining down on UD Basketball right now. Every time a recruit steps on campus from this day forward, they will be greeted with giant graphics of Obi and his plethora of 2020 awards, along with a cassette tape and headphones that play the words “South Student Neighborhood” on repeat while walking around. Recruits who question the purpose of the headphones are fined and asked to leave campus without receiving a scholarship offer.
If you can believe it, there are actually more Player of the Year Awards left to go! The Wooden Award to recognize College Basketballs Best Player will be coming up next week. Think similar to the Heisman. It’s the exact same award as Player of the Year, with just a hint of undeserved pretentiousness. At this point…does it matter? Just give them all to Obi. If there was a Dunkin Donuts Dunkin’est Player of the Year, I would want Obi to win the shit out of that one too.
Finally, you have probably gathered by this point in the article that the Blackburn Review has partnered with the Fake Flyer News to provide a handful of “what if” jersey templates for you to ponder over. Please use this time to send a short message to the athletic department at your earliest convenience that the Columbia Blue jerseys need to return to the floor ASAP. Fill the comments with the one you like the most.
Lastly, it came to our attention yesterday that the Flyers Club Hockey team was in some sort of online competition to vote for best hockey sweaters in Ohio, but more importantly, we were introduced to these beauties below…
Personally, I would wear the hell out of this to UD gatherings. We’re chatting with some people now about possibly organizing a fundraiser for Club Hockey so regular jamokes like you and I can purchase these, while helping the team.
That’s all I got for now. Off-season podcast series will be starting up soon with more stories from former players. Wear red and stay LOWD until then.