Sunday, October 25, 2015

Toppert Lands With Rio Grand Valley Vipers

Cody Toppert has officially been named assistant coach with the Rio Grand Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets affiliate of the NBA D-League.

Toppert arrives with a wealth of experience as an overseas professional and prep school coach.

 Toppert's innovative and intensified NBA skill workouts have catapulted him into the upper echelon of the nation's player development trainers.

These past few years, Toppert has been instrumental in tuning up young NBA players and preparing them for the rigors of an 82-game season.

Toppert's consistent labor has helped accelerate the production rate of myriad NBA players--Tyler Johnson (Miami Heat), DeJuan Blair (Washington Wizards), and Johnny O'Bryant (Milwaukee Bucks)--to name a few.

A veritable 3-point ace at Cornell of the Ivy League, Toppert would prolong his career professionally across three continents.

As a homegrown product and kickout shooter on the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, Toppert played alongside C.J. Miles (Indiana Pacers) and Chuck Hayes (L.A. Clippers).

Toppert is a disciple of international basketball guru/trainer and NBA Skills Development coach Ganon Baker.

 The two initially met at a coach's certification class in Las Vegas.

 There, a basketball brotherhood was born.

Sold on Toppert's orchestration of massive, high-caliber clinics in Dallas, Baker offered Toppert an opportunity at Elev8 Prep (Fla.).

Baker's vision? To build a perennially potent prep program on the national scale while simultaneously training NBA talent and overseas professionals by the truckloads.

Selling Toppert on his vision for Elev8 wasn't a daunting task for Baker, also  a motivational speaker who is widely regarded as one of the world's top clinicians.

One convincing phone call from Baker to Toppert altered Toppert's career path.

 Roughly 30 minutes after a deep and detailed phone conversation, Toppert and his wife Brittany had decided to pack their bags for sun-soaked South Florida.

 Elev8 Prep was a new chapter in Toppert's life, enabling him to work at his craft and gain new clientele.

"Cody is a pioneer," said Baker.

"He went from a skill development business/prep school coach to an NBA D-league assistant in four years. He has done what nobody has ever done in this industry. Cody is a great example of what growing, learning, being loyal, and having a tireless work ethic can do for growth."

While Baker reflected on Toppert's rapid ascension of the NBA food chain, he was quick to note the value of their friendship and workaday teamwork.

"It makes me very proud to see him achieve his dream," Baker said.

"I'm ecstatic for him at Britt. He is living proof that if you humble yourself, have a "hunger game" work ethic and a purposeful passion then you will win. He has done that and he will continue to do that."

 Elev8 has grown into one of the nation's premiere breeding houses for high-caliber talent.

They are headlined by one of the nation's top-rated backcourts with Cal-commit Tyson Jolly and Ole Miss-bound Donte Fitzpatrick.

Toppert said he's confident the Elev8 program is in top-tier shape moving forward, touching on the national reputation of head coach Chad Myers.

Myers, the former head coach at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia, has recruited a team which ranks No.3 nationally.

The aforementioned Johnson, one of Toppert's key projects in Miami, went from an obscure and unknown D-Leaguer to a staple in Erik Spoelstra's offense.

 Beyond teammate Hassan Whiteside, few players have made more out of a 10-day contract than Johnson.

An ultra-tough lefty, blessed with high-rising athleticism, Johnson has become more vital in Miami's backcourt following the departure of Shabazz Napier.

He's  developed a flair for big shots in pressurized situations.

DeJuan Blair, a wide-bodied 6-foot-7 forward, has reaped the rewards of the off-season workload this pre-season.

 He's evolved as a steady double-digit scorer, with a recent 12-point, 14-rebound performance against Milwaukee.

"Cody pushes guys past their limits and helps them transform their skills," said Johnny O'Bryant.

In Miami's Johnson, O'Bryant's words resonated.

"Cody doesn't just challenge his players physically, but mentally as well," Johnson explained.

"The most difficult aspects you will face in high-level basketball are mental. These are aspects like staying ready when your number is called. Being versatile at more than one position. Ways to work through a funk. That was the biggest aspect of my game that grew during the summer (leading into rookie season)."