The Rio Grande Valley Vipers announced the hiring of Cody Toppert as one of their new assistant coaches for first year head coach Matt Brase on Wednesday. The team released this tidbit of info in their respective release:
Toppert joins the RGV Vipers following two years as the Director of Basketball Development and coach for ELEV|8 Sports Institute in Delray Beach, Fla., where during the offseason he also trained players preparing for the NBA Pre Draft and international play. Additionally, Toppert has coached at numerous camps and clinics across the country, including the NBA Pre Draft Combine in 2013 and 2014.
Toppert began his professional career with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, where he was a member of the team's 2005-06 NBA D-League Championship team. He then played professionally in New Zealand and across Europe until 2012.
Toppert played four seasons (2001-05) at Cornell, where he finished eighth overall in school history with 1,232 points, first in three-point field goals made (237) and first in career games played (108).
Such an outline of his work doesn't entirely do Toppert full justice, but the proof is in the pudding. He's been one of the best independent (non-team affiliated) development coaches and/or trainers in the business for quite some time now. His practices are very unique and his motivational pitches and strategies are incredibly useful and effectiveness. Being such an innovator also seemingly allows Toppert to change along with the game itself. He'll undoubtedly bring a type of prospective that is is different than those of his fellow coaches. Creating a great balance in the locker room like that is obviously key to any team's success, and that's a big part of why Toppert will be huge for RGV. He has a very special eye for (developing) talent.
It's worth noting that Toppert is also still on the "younger" side, which should come not as a slight or an insult, but much more so a very favorable compliment, because it's indicative of what he he was able to build and accomplish relatively quickly. A former player himself, Toppert is enthusiastic, easily relatable, and has had a visibly tremendous rapport with the players he chooses to work with. He has a great track record for developing NBA and D-League guys who are constantly trying to learn and look at the game in a different way.
The sky is the limit for Toppert, but this next step in his journey is a very positive one, both for him and the Vipers. As an assistant coach, he'll be able to spend time with players, develop them, etc. --- all things he's already accustomed to, all while getting a chance to be in a D-League locker room as a coach.
The Vipers also hired fellow former basketball journeyman Joseph Blair as an assistant coach as well, the team announced.