Iowa Men's Basketball

Dayton's Obi Toppin, not Iowa's Luka Garza, wins Naismith Trophy

Hawkeye junior doesn't add to his long list of national awards

Dayton's Obi Toppin (1) drives to the basket against St. Louis forward Jimmy Bell Jr. (32) earlier this season in Dayton
Dayton’s Obi Toppin (1) drives to the basket against St. Louis forward Jimmy Bell Jr. (32) earlier this season in Dayton, Ohio. (Tony Tribble/Associated Press)

One of the biggest national Player of the Year awards eluded Iowa’s Luka Garza Friday.

Dayton sophomore forward Obi Toppin was named the winner of the men’s Citizen Naismith Trophy.

That honor is presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The voters are journalists, current and former head coaches, conference commissioners, and former winners of the award. A fans vote accounted for 5 percent of the total vote.

Toppin averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds for the 29-2 Flyers, who went 18-0 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. He averaged 23.4 points over his last five games. Dayton was projected by many to have been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament had it been played.

Hlas column

Weeks ago when we were naive and carefree, I warned you that Dayton's Obi Toppin was the favorite to win the most-prestigious men's basketball National Player of the Year awards.

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Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu was the winner of the women’s Citizen Naismith.

Garza, a junior center, averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds for the 20-11 Hawkeyes. He has been named National Player of the Year by The Sporting News, Basketball Times, Stadium, Bleacher Report, and ESPN. He is the first Iowa men’s basketball player to earn national player of the year distinction.

Garza is a unanimous first-team All-America selection, and only the third Hawkeye to be a consensus first-team All-American, joining Murray Wier (1948) and Charles Darling (1952).

The final major award of the college basketball season is the John Wooden Award. That will be announced next Tuesday during the 4 p.m. (CT) edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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