Top portal target JT Toppin signs with Texas Tech basketball program

Tuesday, one of the top players remaining in the transfer portal, JT Toppin, signed to play with the Texas Tech basketball program after withdrawing from the NBA Draft.
Nevada v New Mexico
Nevada v New Mexico / Sam Wasson/GettyImages

The Texas Tech basketball program has landed one of the biggest fish remaining in the transfer portal pond, JT Toppin. The forward who played for New Mexico last season and who had been going through the NBA Draft process withdrew his name from the draft and signed with the Red Raiders on Tuesday the Texas Tech basketball program announced.

Needless to say, this is a huge win for head coach Grant McCasland and his program. Toppin impressed while at the recent NBA Draft combine and he could easily find himself in the first round of next year's draft should he improve as a sophomore.

Not that his freshman season was anything to be ashamed of. In 36 games for the Lobos last season, the Dallas, Texas native averaged 12.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game on his way to earning Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year honors. He's listed at 6-foot-9 but he measured 6-foot-7 at the NBA Combine. However, his 7-foot wingspan and freakish athleticism allow him to play bigger than his measurables.

"I can't wait to show Red Raider Nation the energy and hard work I bring to every game," Toppin said. "I look forward to getting to Lubbock and helping the team win."

This marks the second offseason in a row that McCasland has poached the MWC Freshman of the Year away from that conference. Last year, it was former Nevada forward Darrion Williams who joined the Red Raiders after winning that award. Now, Toppin is set to round out what is shaping up to be a talent-laden Texas Tech roster thanks in large part to the transfer portal.

The Red Raiders have now added four players from the portal this offseason. That list also includes Kevin Overton, a guard from Drake, Federiko Federiko, a forward from Pitt, and Elijah Hawkins, a point guard from Minnesota.

With the exception of Federiko, the other three of Tech's portal additions are all rated by 247Sports as 4-star transfers. All four are possibilities to be starters as well with Williams the likely lone starter from this past season to return in the same role next season.

Toppin is now the highest-ranked transfer that Tech has added this year. 247Sports lists him as the No. 28 overall player in the portal and No. 5 power forward.

As a high school prospect, though, he flew a bit under the radar. He had only one offer from a major conference team, Arizona State. Other than that, his offers were from New Mexico, Akron, George Washington, Morgan State, and Tulsa.

Now, though, he's set to be a Red Raider and his addition to the program will make the Red Raiders conference contenders in the best league in America. What's more, the Red Raiders still have two scholarships to fill meaning McCasland may not be finished adding talent to his roster just yet.