Zach Edey is prioritizing NBA prep with Grizzlies and won’t play for Canada in Paris Olympics

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Zach Edey finally found his place in the big stage, after years of controversy that suggested he didn’t have what it took to go professional. After last week’s 2024 NBA Draft, he was picked by the Grizzlies and all he’s thinking about now is preparing for the start of the campaign. 

This is why the rookie center decided he will miss representing Canada at the Olympics in Paris this month, and will instead prioritize working in Memphis and getting to know his new teammates this offseason. The young star announced his commitment in a joint statement with his nation’s federation.

“I have made the difficult decision of pulling myself out of the process to compete for a spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with Canada,” his statement reads. “Since last summer, I have been training and competing nonstop to achieve my goals of winning a national championship at Purdue and making it to the NBA.”

The big man was crystal clear when sharing how important making it in the NBA is to him. “I have a duty now to properly prepare for all that is coming my way with being drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies,” he assured. “The work I put in this summer on my and and my game is critical for me to be the best version of myself.”

Despite his decision, Zach revealed that playing for Team Canada in the Olympics, “remains a lifelong dream of mine.” However, he was glad to see how his nation’s federation was supportive of his decision, as they know that he will further develop into an even greater athlete in the NBA.

“We look forward to welcoming him to a future training camp and wish him the best of luck preparing for next season” wrote Canada general manager Rowan Barrett of Edey’s future in the joint statement.

Zach has enjoyed steady growth throughout his college years, averaging 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds as a junior, and then 25.2 points and 12.2 rebounds during his senior season which took the Boilermakers all the way to the NCAA title game against Connecticut.

Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman calls Edey’s pick a ‘special fit’ for Memphis and addressed misconceptions around his skills

Zach recently became the first player in over four decades to earn The Associated Press’ mens’ college basketball player of the year award in consecutive seasons. His new general manager trusts this was their best outcome out of the 2024 NBA Draft.

“Zach Edey is a particularly special fit [for the franchise],” said Grizzlies’ Zach Kleiman once the first round was over. “In getting to know him, we are talking about someone whose competitiveness is through the roof, care factor is through the roof. No ego, just wants to win.”

When the team executive was initially asked if the club was focused on Donovan Clingan, who was taken that night as the 7th overall pick by Portland, he answered: “I haven’t seen that reported anywhere.” But as the media continued to press on the matter, he then pushed away any doubts: “I’m saying this is how we wanted the draft to play out.”

He then shared: “We now have — from a size standpoint, from a physicality standpoint — that’s something that other teams are going to have to grapple with. We want to have looks that we can throw out there that give us the advantage. Let them figure out how to deal with us.”