College Basketball

Seven-foot-four Zach Edey from Purdue has declared for the NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility

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Probably the tallest player in college basketball has finally announced he’s declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft this upcoming June. We are talking about Purdue’s seven-foot-four Zach Edey, who also decided to maintain his college eiligibility. 

The Toronto native, who also weighs 305 pounds, has been a definite standout player for the Boilermakers this 2022/23 season, but in the NBA he’s to become an anomaly, considering his physical attributes.

“My basketball journey has been unorthodox to say the least, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it,” Edey posted on social media. “From ranked No. 437 in my class to National Player of the Year, I can’t put into words what Purdue University, my teammates, my coaches and our fans mean to me.

“Though we fell short of our ultimate goal this season, I loved every second of it. With that being said, I’m putting my name in the NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility. I will evaluate my future after going through the process and look forward to what’s next.”

The big man is a curious player, as he’s unlike other athletes of a similar size, considering his intriguing skills has led him to earn both the AP college basketball player of the year and the Naismith Player of the Year awards this campaign. For example, the last two NBA players to be listed over 300 pounds, only averaged 10 points per match in their college years.

This last season, Edey dropped an impressive 22.3 points per match, winning 12.9 rebounds in average, and scoring 73.4% of his free-throw attempts.

In recent years, NBA clubs have made it a priority to acquire players who are exceptional while shooting beyond the arc, or show defensive qualities to add to their already strong offensive talent. As traditional blocking centers have moved away from franchise’s agendas, his Purdue coach considers it unfair.

“He’s a level-headed guy,” trainer Matt Painter said. “He’ll take the information in and make a decision and do what’s best for him. So he’s not somebody that — he’s pretty simple in things. But it’s not me. His parents are great. The people around him are great. He’s a good dude. It’s too bad. He deserves better than this. He deserves better.”

Even though Purdue were upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament, his display was a solid one. Take a look at some of his recent highlights from his brief March Madness appareance:

In the last three seasons, the NBA only possesses six 7-foot tall athletes

There is no doubt that the big men are slowly becoming exctinct in the league, as 275-plus pound players or taller than seven feet are harder to find nowadays.

For example, in the last three campaigns of the 90s (1996-1999) you could still find 17 athletes with these characteristics. As of now, in the last three seasons, there are only six players who possess these features.

Even though Edey has won accolades for national player of the year, he’s not anywhere close to being the top prospect of his class. According to ESPN databases, the center is ranked 52nd nationally, and analyst Brain Windhorst recently discussed how his lack of mobility is concerning to NBA scouts.

“It’s off-putting to NBA teams—even though Zach Edey has gotten better—it’s off-putting when a big man just can’t move very well, unless he’s so sensational,” the ESPN broadcaster said last month.