Earlier today the Big10 announced their post-season awards. The player awards went as predicted, the coaching awards were a joke, and in the end, the top prize went to the best player, not only in the Big10, but in the nation.
No one, including myself, saw this coming. I thought Edey would be good, maybe even great, but I was expecting something closer to 17 & 7 a game, not 22 & 13. Then again, Zach is into shattering expectations.
Growing up people expected Zach to play basketball because of his size, instead he played hockey and baseball (everyone take a shot). When Matt Painter landed Edey as a Hunter Dickinson consolation prize, everyone expected the kid who only started playing organized basketball as a Sophomore in high school to red shirt, instead he played in every game (starting 2), averaged 15 minutes, 9 points and 4 rebounds.
As a sophomore, Zach was expected to come off the bench behind established starter and star Trevion Williams, instead Zach started 33 out of 37 games, averaged 19 minutes, 14 points and 9 rebounds. This season, with Williams off to play professional basketball, everyone expected Zach to start, but most assumed he would only be good for 20-25 minutes a game, instead he was a Big10 iron man, starting every game and averaging 31.5 minutes. What was even more unexpected were his stats were scaleable.
When you looked at his Per 40 minutes stats as a sophomore, they worked out to 30 points, 16 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. In 31.5 minutes as a junior, he averaged 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. I didn’t expect him to get that close to his sophomore per 40 minute numbers by simply playing more. I thought there would be diminishing returns with extended minutes. As his minutes increase, I thought, his productivity and efficiency will decrease because of fatigue, instead, be looks as dominant in the last 5 minutes of a game as he does in the first 5 minutes.
No one expected Zach Edey to win the Big10 Player of the Year. Most had either Hunter Dickinson or Trace Jackson Davis before the season started, instead, Zach walks away with the award and Purdue, a team predicted to finish mid-table, walked away with the Big10 Title by 3 games.
Since Zach Edey’s entire career is about exceeding expectations and doing the unexpected, keep this in mind. Everyone expects Purdue to flame out in March. Mr. Edey might have a thing or two to say about that. I’ve learned not to bet against him.