Here in America when we think of history we often think of powdered wigs, muskets, fighting the British. But really, history is all around us. It’s happening right now. All of this is history. Heck, even this post on this website is part of history. Assuming the internet holds up and we don’t devolve into some Mad Max type of world this story will be here for years and years to come. It might even outlive me. In fact, it could be the only record of me that exists after I die. What a thought. But I digress.
Purdue fans are witnessing history right now each time that Zach Edey walks onto the court. Throughout the history of Purdue men’s basketball there have been 20 players named as All-Americans. But there has been only one national player of the year awarded to Purdue*. *Big caveat here in that the two major college basketball awards were not given out until 1969 (Naismith) and 1977 (Wooden). Given these timeframes it eliminates the possibility of guys like Terry Dischinger, Stretch Murphy, John Wooden, Dave Schellhase, among others from even having the opportunity to win the award.* But that’s the system we’ve got. The one Purdue player to win the award was of course the Big Dog himself Glenn Robinson. During his final year at Purdue he averaged an astonishing 30.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Absolutely dominating numbers and the best college basketball player I’ve ever seen play in person.
Right now Zach Edey is largely considered the frontrunner for both NPOY awards. That’s no surprise. He’s the star player on the number 3 (formerly #1) team in the nation. His team has lost just one game by a total of one point all season. He’s averaging 21.9 points per game and an astounding 13.4 rebounds per game. He’s also been playing 31.5 minutes per game which is incredible for a man that stands at 7’4. Nearly two feet taller than me by the way, but I digress again. At Purdue we’ve not seen a dominant season like this since Glenn Robinson. Sure Carsen Edwards had his NCAA Tournament run that dazzled and the Baby Boilers all put on shows from game to game but never the consistent dominance like this. Never the ability to win each and every game for their team. Zach Edey can take the entire team on his, admittedly very broad, shoulders and carry them to victory night in and not out. All while not fouling.
Purdue fans, and basketball fans in general, are a very fickle bunch. They love players when they are playing well but will be quick to jump on them when they are playing poorly. Zach Edey hasn’t really played poorly this year but the statistics just say that he’s got to have an off night at some point this year. Right? I mean he can’t possibly play this well all the way through Big Ten season, the Big Ten Tournament, and the NCAA Tournament. Can he? I guess we don’t really know what The Big Maple is capable of. I don’t think many would’ve looked at him when he came to Purdue and pegged him for the odds on front runner for National Player of the Year. Yet here we are. Zach Edey puts on a clinic each and every time on the court. Not just with his points and rebounds but with his effort, his leadership, and his determination to win.
You have to go back to 2012 to find the last player who won the Naismith while averaging a double double. That would be the eyebrow Anthony Davis. Zach Edey has the opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in 11 years. That’s history. Other names who have done that? You might recognize them, Durant, Hansbrough, Griffin, Bogut, and Duncan just to name a few. That’s rarified air. And it’s air that Zach Edey has been breathing all year. History.
A few years back The History Channel, every father’s favorite channel, switched up their programming. They stopped focusing so much on wars, nazis, what you and I generally think of as history, and switched to reality TV. Think Ice Road Truckers and the like. They included with it a tagline to the effect of History Happens Every Day. It annoyed me. My dad was a U.S. History teacher and he instilled in me a love of history so I would love to put The History Channel on and learn. I watched it less and less after they changed it but I’ve come to agree with the idea that history happens every day. We witness history all around us every day. Most things aren’t earth shattering, most things won’t be recorded, most things might even pass by unnoticed. But that’s life isn’t it? That’s how things go.
Right now, you and I dear reader are witnessing Zach Edey make history before our eyes. As the season continues he has a chance to build on a history that will be recorded in the Purdue record books, in the rafters of Mackey Arena, and in the names of the National Player of the Year winners. Let’s not miss this. Let’s savor every moment. Let’s all continue to tune in as history happens every (game) day.