Potential Kentucky breakout star Jacob Toppin draws inspiration from older brother Obi

New York Knicks fans know all about Obi Toppin, but what they may not know is that in 2023, Toppin’s younger brother could be joining him in the NBA. Jacob Toppin, who’s two years younger than Obi, is a senior at Kentucky.

Jacob spent his first year at Rhode Island but transferred ahead of the 2020-21 season to be part of John Calipari’s squad. He averaged 5.2 points his first season before averaging 6.2 points last season, but after a successful offseason, the forward has the tools to be a breakout star for one of the best collegiate programs in the country.

The younger Toppin declared for the 2022 NBA Draft but planned to return to Kentucky. Over the summer, he got to lean on Obi for support and advice as the two worked out together in Los Angeles (subscription required). That time with Obi helped to get Jacob in the right mindset for his final year as a Wildcat, and Knicks fans will be surprised to know that Jacob claims to be quicker than his older brother.

“He definitely doesn’t have the upper hand anymore,” Toppin says. “I’m just a lot faster than him. So, to be honest, I just go by him, pull up, do whatever. He’s still stronger, though. He’s the older brother, so he always thinks every call has to go his way. I wasn’t going for it. We definitely didn’t fight, but we got into an argument.”

Jacob Toppin, younger brother of Knicks’ Obi Toppin, has sights set on 2023 NBA Draft

In Kentucky’s first four games of the season, Jacob is averaging 10.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.3 steals while shooting 40% from the field and 25% from three.

According to The Athletic, Wildcats assistant coach Orlando Antigua said that Jacob has the potential to be the best defender in college basketball. And while the senior’s shot has improved, Calipari wants to see Toppin drive into the lane more. Like RJ Barrett, Jacob worked on finishing through contact over the summer.

Big things appear to be on the horizon for Jacob Toppin. In ESPN’s Top 100 prospects for the 2023 draft, Toppin fell in at No. 74 but based on what Calipari has said about his starting power forward, expect to see Jacob jump up that list as the year goes on.

No. 2 Kentucky and Jacob Toppin will have one of their toughest road tests of the season tonight in Spokane against the No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs. With New York’s game against Phoenix happening earlier this afternoon, Knicks fans should make a point to watch Obi Toppin’s younger brother in action in a thrilling college basketball matchup.