He’s 7 foot 4 inches, 285 pounds. He’s Canadian.
And 28 months ago he was a baseball player. He’d never stepped on a basketball court. He didn’t really want to, but his friend’s dad was coaching the team and he did it ‘mainly as a favor.’
He’s now playing division 1 basketball, at Big Man U, looking to be the next dominant monster in the paint for Coach Painter’s Boilermakers.
Some things seem very obvious in this profile. He’s played less than 3 years of basketball. He’s a project.
He’s a giant even in a game built on size. He will need to adjust to the speed of the game, of his opponents, of his own mind processing all that chaos while taking elbows and shoulders from little ankle biter guards.
He’s almost certainly going to redshirt. After all, Purdue already has a back up center who was also a raw athlete that red shirted two years ago, and they’ve worked on turning into a viable defensive presence and rim runner.
But then reports come out of an intra squad scrimmage just yesterday, a few weeks before the season to start. Zach Edey’s stats come to us, a beacon in a dark, dark sky:
17 points, 7 rebs, 6-6 FGs.
For what it’s worth, Trevion Williams, Purdue’s starting center, is on the shorter side and gives up almost 6 or 7 inches to Edey. Then again, so does almost everyone. Then again, Williams was just named to the pre-season All-Big Ten team. He’s on the watch list for best center in the country. He’s really good. He’s maybe the best rebounder in the conference.
Edey didn’t miss a shot against him.
Look, we don’t know anything. There’s no public scrimmages. Practices and intra-squad competition is skewed by familiarity. But if Purdue has one spot on their roster that’s a question mark, it’s the back up center.
So what if Edey is ready? What if Coach Painter has a 7’4 center that he can bring into the game against mismatches for 10 minutes a game, when the offense is stalling, or when Purdue needs to grind an undersized front court?
That’s a big answer, if early inclinations are believable. Painter usually goes into the season holding red shirts as possibilities for players so it’s unlikely we will have an answer on what Edey will be this year or if he’ll play until the games starts.
But the fact that we don’t know yet is a good sign. It means he’s ready enough to at least be a tempting piece for a team that might surprise the Big Ten this year. A guard heavy team, with wings aplenty, and only one real need.
If Zach Edey is ready, expect the Boilers to be, too.