NBA Draft 2023: Purdue's Zach Edey may go right up to the deadline on his Draft decision | Zagsblog
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Saturday / July 13.
  • NBA Draft 2023: Purdue’s Zach Edey may go right up to the deadline on his Draft decision

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    CHICAGO — Purdue and Alabama will play a game in Toronto on Dec. 9 in what would be Zach Edey’s first college game in his hometown.

    But it remains an open question whether the 7-foot-4 Edey, the consensus National Player of the Year, will be in college, the NBA or even the NBA G League at that point.

    “I think they scheduled it to kind of entice me to come back and it would be cool to play back in Toronto, but at the end of the day I’ve just got to make the best decision. That’s not really a factor in my decision,” Edey said this week at the NBA Draft Combine, where he met with teams but did not compete in 5-on-5.

    “It would be cool if I came back to play in Toronto, but that’s not going to be a main factor in my decision at all.”

    Edey, who averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks as a junior this season, has until May 31 to withdraw from the Draft.

    In Chicago, he measured 7-foot-3 barefoot with a 7’10.5” wingspan and a 9’7” standing reach. He weighs 306 pounds.

    “I mean, Holy Cow, you could count on one hand the amount of human beings on this planet who have those type of measurements,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony said Friday.

    Edey has individual team workouts scheduled and said “I won’t really know my answer on what I’m doing until basically the deadline.”

    ESPN currently has him projected as the No. 48 pick to the L.A. Clippers, while Tankathon has him going undrafted.

    The main criticisms of Edey are whether he can defend in the pick-and-roll and defend modern NBA bigs who step out and shoot from the perimeter.

    Edey says he can envision himself becoming a Brook Lopez-type player in the NBA.

    “I feel I can move well in the ball screen coverage the way he does,” he said. “I think it’s just a learning process, obviously. He’s miles better than I am right now, but I feel like those are people I can reach for and strive for and be like, guys like [Jonas] Valančiūnas or [Ivica] Zubac or Steven Adams on offense, the way they set screens and post up and are really physical, they way they rebound well. I think those are the guys I can be like.”

    Givony said he understood why Edey and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, opted not to have him play 5-on-5 this week “because you’re kind of exposing his biggest weakness, which is his pick-and-roll defense.”

    “That’s the big question that teams have about Zach Edey and my understanding is that he’s just testing the waters right now,” Givony said. “He’s looking to see some type of assurances that he’ll both be picked and in an favorable enough spot to get a guaranteed contract.

    “So if he doesn’t get those assurances, I think we could see him back at Purdue next season.”

    If Edey does return, expect Purdue, which became just the second No. 1 seed ever to lose to a 16 when they were stunned by FDU, to be among the nation’s best again.

    “It’s the same team we had last year, where our freshmen guards get to be sophomores,” Edey said. “They’ll be a little stronger, a little faster, a little more confident.

    “We’re a team that was No. 1 most of the season, we were a No. 1 seed, we had a really good regular season. And we won our Big Ten Conference, won our Big Ten Conference Tournament. It’s the same team that’s coming back, nothing’s changed, it’s just guys are getting a little older.”

    He added he’s not concerned about winning another set of Player of the Year awards.

    “I wouldn’t be worried about doing that again,” he said. “The only thing I’d be worried about if I came back is winning basketball games.

    “We’ve had a lot of success in the regular season, I would make sure I’m focused on winning on the biggest stage, too, winning in that [NCAA] Tournament. Obviously, it’s tough, it’s one elimination game. It’s not like a series, it’s just one game. But I wouldn’t be focused on adding to my personal hardware collection, the only thing I’d be focused on is hanging banners and adding to our team’s hardware collection.”

    Whatever happens, he says Purdue coach Matt Painter will support him.

    “Painter respects me enough that he knows it’s my decision,” he said. “No matter what I do, whether I come back obviously or if I leave. He would just shake my hand and say congratulations.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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