OBSERVATIONS: Obi’s mom drove him, now she drives her own car

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, where it brought to tears myself when I saw Obi Toppin sobbing with joy after the New York Knicks select him No. 1 in the NBA draft:

—What kind of son is the former University of Dayton’s ‘Dunkin Delight’ Obi Toppin? A mother’s delight.

Toppin doesn’t have a car and neither did his mother. So even before the NBA draft, Obi used some of his pre-draft endorsement money to take his mother, Roni, to a dealership and tell her, “Pick out what you want?”

His mom picked out a Mercedes with red (what else?) interior. Why not? Throughout his career at UD Obi’s mother drove her son. Now she can drive herself.

After The Mouth That Roars, Stephen A. Smith, said the Knicks should have drafted a guard instead of Obi Toppin, former NBA center Kendrick Perkins stomped on Smith with both feet, and those are mighty big feet.

“This is the best thing the New York Knicks have done in the last 10 years,” said Perkins. “This kid is electrifying. He is box office. He is going to fill up seats. He is must-see TV.

“The young man led college basketball last year with 171 dunks,” Perkins added. “And I’m not talking about Kendrick Perkins-type dunks, one and two-hand pushes. He did it between the legs, windmills. . .and he can stretch the floor. He’s ferocious, he’s ready.

“The New York fans will have something to be proud of, something to be happy about. They can get the popcorn poppin’ again in Madison Square Garden. I’m all in on Obi Toppin. I think the Knicks hit a home run.”

—QUOTE: From Jacob Toppin, Obi’s brother who transferred from Rhode Island to Kentucky on the jumping ability of him and Obi: “My dad can still dunk it. He’s 40 years old, so yeah, it’s just in our genes. It’s genetics.”

—A jog of memory from University of Dayton’s outstanding Director of Media Relations Doug Hauschild: With Obi Toppin joining the Knicks, he becomes the fifth former Flyer to wear a Knicks uniform — Don May, Chuck Grigsby, Jim Palmer, Sedric Toney and now Toppin.

—Shame on NBA commissioner Adam Silver. While revealing the New York Knicks first round pick, he said, “Obi Toppin from Dayton University.” Inexcusable. Would he say the University of Ohio State or College Boston or Notre Dame University. UD awaits an apology.

—Much was made over the fact that Trevor Bauer was the first Cincinnati Reds pitcher to win the Cy Young Award, with the grand total of five victories in this truncated 60-game season.

Why no Reds? How about Jim Maloney’s 1963 season — 23-7, 2.77 earned run average, 33 starts, 13 complete games, six shutouts, 263 strikeouts in 250 1/3 innings?

What happened? Sandy Koufax happened. HIs numbers in 1963 were staggering — 25-5, 1.88 ERA, 40 starts, 20 complete games, 11 shutouts. 306 strikeouts in 311 innings.

There was only one Cy Young back then, no National League and American League separation. And Koufax won it, hands down.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, modifying Leo Durocher’s famous saying that nice guys finish last: “Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win – if they’re nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth and nice guys with no talent finish last.”

—Call it a Crum-my performance this week by Kent State quarterback Dustin Crum.

Crum was 17 for 17 for 300 yards and three touchdowns…in the first half during a 69-35 annihilation of Akron. Crum finished 22 for 25 for 348 yards and three touchdowns.

And when Crum wasn’t flinging it, he was winging it on the ground — 13 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Crum accounted for 452 yards and five touchdowns on snowy field in Kent.

The 69 points tied a school record and the team’s 750 total yards tied a school record for the 3-and-0 Golden Flashes.

—When I was a kid, I lived a mile from the Akron Rubber Bowl, which was then home to the University of Akron when the Zips played in the Ohio Conference.

A few friends and I used to sneak into games by crawling under a fence. We would line up in the stands behind the goal posts. When a team kicked an extra point, if one of us grabbed the football, we would lateral it to each other up the grandstands and sprint out of the stadium and we had a nice football to play with on the empty lot behind my house.

Hey, footballs didn’t cost that much then and it was only a misdemeanor. And we never got caught.

—The seventh-ranked University of Cincinnati gets its toughest conference test Saturday at Central Florida. The Knights average 619 yards of total offense, tops in college football.

The Bearcats are six-point favorites. They’ve played three common opponents. UC beat Houston, 38-10 and UCF beat Houston, 44-21. UC beat East Carolina, 55-17 and UCF beat East Carolina, 51-28. UC beat Memphis, 49-10 and UCF lost to Memphis, 50-49.

Central Florida also lost to Tulane, 34-28, a team UC hasn’t played. While Central Florida covers more ground than the length of the state of Florida, it hasn’t played against a defense like UC’s. Prediction: UC 44, UCF 21.

Ohio State is a 20 1/2-point favorite of unbeaten and No. 9-ranked Indiana. Too many points. Ohio State wins, but not by more than 20 1/2 points. Prediction: Ohio State 35, Indiana 20.

Now take those predictions, write them down, then tear up the paper and enjoy watching the games.

—Spent Wednesday morning at Mom’s Restaurant in Franklin for her annual Big Blue Basketball Kickoff breakfast, an event celebrating University of Kentucky basketball.

Owner Hilda ‘Mom’ Ratliff serves blue gravy. I had my usual awesome Western Omelette, but skipping the gravy, although I’m told it’s scrumptious. I’ll stick to brown gravy in honor of he Cleveland Browns.

Speaking of Franklin, Luke Kennard, a Franklin legend, was traded Wednesday night by the Detroit Pistons to the Los Angeles Clippers. Had breakfast earlier this year at Mom’s with Luke and his family. Great people.

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