Former Lobo JT Toppin has big first day at NBA Draft Combine

May 14—While a Texas-sized bidding war for JT Toppin appears to be looming in the college ranks, the former UNM Lobo might just be putting that return-to-college thing to rest.

The power forward from Dallas had the only double-double of the day at Tuesday's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, which included 42 draft prospects across four teams playing two scrimmages.

Toppin, the media's pick for Mountain West Freshman of the Year this past season after a historic freshman season for Richard Pitino's UNM Lobos, had 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with one block and one made 3-pointer in 19 minutes in an 89-81 win for his team, which included LeBron James' son, Bronny James, in the starting lineup alongside Toppin.

Toppin's eight offensive rebounds were three more than any other player on the offensive glass (West Virginia's Jesse Edwards had five).

Former Mountain West players Keshad Johnson, who played this past season at Arizona after his first three at San Diego State, had seven points and two rebounds and former CSU wing Nique Clifford had five points and two rebounds.

Should Toppin decide he wants to return to college to play his sophomore season, he has until May 29 to withdraw from the NBA Draft, which takes place June 26 and 27.

If he does return to college, he has already entered the NCAA Transfer Portal with no plan of returning to the Lobos. Multiple sources have told the Journal that the Texas Longhorns may be the leader in attracting Toppin with an NIL package believed to be in the $1 million range while Texas Tech, where he has close connections to players on the roster, also has been recruiting him hard.

Regardless, Toppin for now is focused on the NBA Draft Combine and showings like the one he had Tuesday can't hurt his chances of grabbing the attention of an NBA executive — the same group of people whose input is what determines who gets to participate in the event in the first place, meaning Toppin was already on the minds of NBA scouts before this week.

Monday, the combine was all about drills and measurements. And, one of the more talked about measurements every year at the combine — when often reported out of context — is height.

While you can debate how much colleges have erred on the side of making their roster look a little bigger through the years with inaccurate roster heights, what is clear is this: College rosters list a player's height wearing shoes and the NBA combine measures a player's height without shoes. That could spell anywhere from a 1- to 2-inch difference.

Toppin measured at 6-foot-7 at the combine, when most expected to see 6-foot-9, his listed height at UNM.

Measurements of note for Toppin:

Height: 6-7.0 (without shoes)Weight: 221.0 poundsWingspan: 7-feet-0.5 inches

Toppin's shooting and speed scores in drills, in addition to other measurables (like his 34-inch vertical leap compared to combine leaders at 42 inches) weren't particularly impressive, though he clearly stood out in game play.