A week after the first official college basketball practice for next season kicks off, UNM Lobos are already receiving some big news about the upcoming season.
Jadyn Toppin, a powerful 6-foot-8 striker with a 7-foot-1 wing span of Faith Family Academy in Oak Cliff, Texas, announced publicly Monday that he will play for Richard Pettino and New Mexico Lobos next year, becoming the program’s first commitment for the 2023 class.
“I really liked the coaching staff and I liked the stadium,” Tobin told the newspaper. “I felt just right.”
Tobin, who informed the technical staff of his decision on Sunday and made the news official on Sunday Monday social mediawas on an official enlistment visit earlier this month and attended the September 9 Lobo football match against Boise State.
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– Jaden Toppin (@JToppin5) September 19, 2022
While visiting, he said he loved the facilities, “loved” the hole and saw what he needed to see how the coaches interact with the players during one of the Lobo basketball team’s drills he saw.
“They trained them hard, and I love that,” Tobin said. “I want it. I think I can adapt to the way they play.”
Employment Service 247Sports lists Toppin as a 3 star potential. He has received scholarships from Arizona, Akron, UT Arlington, George Washington, Akron and Tulsa, among others.
So what kind of player will Lobo fans get when Toppin hits campus?
Known as a top-notch winged rebuilder and blocker one of his greatest assets, the player comparison he gave to the magazine on Monday wasn’t exactly the one you’d expect from a high school student in 2022.
“I’m a scorer – I can score in the paint,” Tobin said. “I think I play like Antown Jamison.”
Jamison was the All-American 6-9 forward for North Carolina from 1995 to 1998, then a two-time All-Star during a 16-year career in the NBA that ended in 2014.
Not exactly a player Tobin and his friends grew up watching.
“He’s a student in the game,” said Brandon Thomas, his high school coach at Faith Family Academy, which won the Class 4A state championship in Texas last March.
“(Jamison) mentioned to him one day and so he went and studied it and immediately saw the reference – the way he gets the ball out of his hand fast, he’s quick to hit the ground. All that good stuff.”
Thomas said his quick description of Toppin as a player would be “a high-drive, hard worker. That high-drive will go beyond attack and defense and he can come up with a transition. He’s got really good hands, really good touch around the basket.”
Toppin said he’s a strong back striker and enjoys defending.
Thomas described his great striker as a versatile defender.
“We’re turning off the ball monitors here, which allows him to show his ability to defend different locations and different places on the ground,” Thomas said.
Tobin said he plans to sign his national letter of intent during the early signing period in November, the first time the Class of 2023 recruits can sign. UNM coaches cannot comment on potential recruits until they sign.
The UNM assistant, Isaac Chiu, was in the initial hiring process for Toppin before the rest of the staff joined.