Zach Edey is a Canadian basketball player who currently plays college basketball for the Purdue Boilermakers. At 7’4”, he is the tallest player to ever play in the NCAA’s Big Ten Conference. He is the reigning National Player Of The Year and the Big Ten Player Of The Year. In this post, we will find out more about Zach Edey. Let’s get started.
Zach Edey: All You Need To Know
When was Zach Edey born?
Zach Edey was born on May 14, 2002. He was born and raised in an ethnically diverse household. Zach Edey’s father is white while his mother is of Chinese descent. He likely inherited his 7’4” height from his mother who is 6’3”.
Was Basketball Zach Edey’s first choice?
Zach Edey was proficient at multiple sports from childhood and he excelled in ice hockey, basketball, and baseball. As a kid, he wasn’t very keen on being known for his exceptional height, so he ditched basketball for virtually every other sport, including lacrosse, football, tennis, hockey, and eventually baseball, where he was a pitcher Edey was really keen on pursuing baseball but his exceptional height made it impractical for him to be a baseball player.
Speaking on Zach Edey’s short stint as a baseball player, his mother Julia Edey said: “I think baseball sharpened his mind. His father told him that the only important play is the next pitch. Forget what happened. Forget if you just took someone out on sockets or abandoned a class.”
Zach Edey fully committed to basketball as a high school sophomore and started playing Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball as well.
How did Zach Edey get hooked on basketball?
During high school, Zach Edey was struggling with some arm issues and wasn’t able to play baseball. A friend suggested he come to a recreational basketball game. It took some convincing, but eventually Edey agreed to take to the field as a form of cross-training and conditioning.
He got hooked after one workout. “He came home and he was excited,” recalled his mother, Julia. “He said to me, ‘That was really fun.’ And I said, “What did you guys do?” I was so excited for him. He said: “We have carried out suicides. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, do you think this is fun?’ The rest, as they say, is history.
How was Zach Edey discovered as a serious basketball prospect?
Zach Edey was first discovered in the basketball community by a 12-year-old. On his mother’s orders, Ethan Massiah approached Edey during a break from play and told him that he had to meet his uncle Vidal.
Vidal Massiah was captain of the Canadian senior team in 2004 and 2005. He played in the NCAA and abroad, but never reached the NBA. After his playing career, Massiah decided to give back to his community by coaching and founded the Northern Kings Academy.
During the college recruiting period, Massiah had written a detailed scouting report on Edey and sent it across to Purdue University.
“We are in a world of talent search. And no one knew Zach,” Vidal Massiah said. “So it was like, OK, well, we’re probably not missing much. No one has heard of this kid. You don’t really know how big he is, but you know what, I’m going to call it and we’ll see where it goes.”
But Julia Edey didn’t pick up the phone. She didn’t call back until a few months later, because Zach was still involved in baseball. Eventually, Massiah and Julia Edey, herself a former high school player who stands six-foot-three, crossed paths at one of Zach’s games.
“He said, ‘You have talent here,’” Julia recalls. “And I remember looking at him and saying, ‘OK, but he’s a baseball player, so that’s interesting.’ But he said, ‘No, you have NBA talent here.’ … And I just said to Vi, “You scare me. It’s super cool. But you scare me.’
Which college program does Zach Edey play for?
After switching full time to basketball, Zach Edey’s game improved rapidly and he soon moved to the United States to join the IMG Academy in Florida. He was under the watchful eyes of former NBA center Daniel Santiago and his game flourished. He was eventually classified for the 2020 recruiting class as a consensus three star recruit.
Zach Edey received basketball scholarship offers from Purdue, Baylor, Santa Clara, and a few others. He eventually chose to head over to West Lafayette and become a Purdue Boilermaker.
Zach Edey made an immediate impact as a freshman for the Boilermakers and earned a spot on the Big Ten All Freshman team. Zach Edey’s game grew with every season and he eventually reached 1000 points (55th in Purdue history) and 100 blocks (11th in Purdue history) by his Junior year. Zach Edey’s junior year was absolutely stellar and he earned the Big Ten Player Of The Year and consensus National Player Of The Year awards.
How is Zach Edey’s National team career?
Since 2022, Zach Edey has been a member of the Canadian men’s national team as well.
Despite only playing 19 minutes in three games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Edey tallied 14 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shot. In one of his very first games, he stood right and blocked a French guard in the paint, prompting Sportsnet announcer Dan Shulman to exclaim “you can’t teach at seven-foot-four”.
Is Zach Edey an NBA prospect?
It’s time for some unabashed honesty. If Zach Edey was an NBA Draft prospect 10-15 years ago, he would’ve been an assured lottery pick. Back then, a dominant center who had a great inside game was very valuable. However, we live in different times now and the NBA game has evolved a lot.
Gone are the days of trees standing in the paint and dominating the game with their size. The three pointer rules the NBA world today. The two top NBA centers, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid shoot threes and are very effective away from the basket as well. Zach Edey is going to have a tough time keeping up with the new NBA. Even though he has won numerous accolades as a college player, most analysts don’t see Zach Edey’s game translating very well to the NBA. As a result, he didn’t declare for the NBA draft despite winning the Player Of The Year Award. If he declares for the NBA after his senior year, he is expected to be a second round pick at best and not last in the league for very long. Europe might be a better option for Zach Edey.
Can Zach Edey be a force in international basketball?
As discussed before, Zach Edey’s NBA future is shrouded in doubt and he chose to forgo the 2023 NBA draft and decided to return to Purdue for his Senior Year. With the new NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) rule in the NCAA, Zach Edey can earn a good amount of money as the team and the conference’s biggest star. The Purdue Boilermakers, led by their star Zach Edey suffered a first round upset in the NCAA tournament when they lost to 16th seeded Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU). That resulted in even more clouds being shrouded over Edey’s NBA future.
Despite lacking an NBA future, Zach Edey is expected to do well in the International game. The international style of basketball still values physicality and size and a standout post player is a valuable asset. Different tactics, less hero ball, zone defence, and a team oriented style of basketball might just be the things needed for Zach Edey to thrive.