If it’s Saturday, it’s the Roundtable. I ask the staff a question and I share the answers with all of you. Today we are sticking with basketball.
With the news that Zach Edey has won AP Player of the year, along with numerous other player of the year awards, where do you rank his career in terms of all time greats at Purdue? Glenn Robinson has been the most dominant player of my lifetime, does Edey comparably favorable to the Big Dog?
Listen, I love Zach Edey, and this season puts him easily into the top 10 of Purdue players all-time. Without a doubt. You can certainly make an argument for to[ 5 but it’s so hard to compare players across both eras and positions. I’ll just settle with he’s an all-time great.
Now, comparing him to Glenn Robinson is just tough for me personally. Robinson is the best player I’ve ever seen in person. He could dominate a game like no one i’ve ever seen. He was so big, strong, and yet quick and athletic. Just absolutely an incredible player. I mean, he scored 1,000 points in a single season during his time at Purdue. That’s nearly unheard of. We as sports fans love to compare players to each other but we fail to just be content with greatness when we see it in front of us.
I love Zach Edey and It’s hard for me to really compare the two because I never really saw Big Dog play, just through past clips and I think it’s easy to have recency bias. But just looking at their career numbers at Purdue Glenn Robinson is still the all time great here. His collegiate career stats he averaged 27.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists compared to Edey’s 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. That also factors in Robinson did that as a freshman & sophomore before going to the NBA, while Edey has been here 3 years. Robinson was also a 2x consensus AA but they both have a trophy case worth bragging rights. And about that recency bias, the 93/94 squad went to the Elite 8 where Purdue made history in a bad way this year in the tournament. With that being said, if Edey comes back and has just as dominate season as he did this year and Purdue can make a run in March this becomes a much tighter competition. And for those who hadn’t heard, Edey just started playing basketball 6 years ago, he was a hockey player before that.
I feel like it’s only fair for me to give a youthful perspective, considering I wasn’t even alive when Big Dog played. I can watch highlights and look at stats, but I’ll never get to experience Glenn Robinson like I am experiencing Zach Edey.
For me and a lot of kids my age, Zach is the most impactful player to grace the Black and Gold, hands down. The numbers, the awards, and the titles, all speak for themselves. The only glaring blemish is the absence of a deep tournament run, but Zach is in a position very different from the Big Dog though, considering he won’t be a consensus first overall draft pick. Also, there is a very real possibility that NIL makes another year (or two) of college basketball more profitable than a rookie contract in the NBA. If Zach stays and rectifies the worst loss in program history, while I already think Zach has the credentials to be considered the best Boiler of all time, he could be considered among the greatest to ever do it in all of college basketball.
This is a tough one. First off, Glenn is in a league of his own. I don’t think we’ll ever see a more dominant player, and that includes Zach. Glenn could score from anywhere, and at any time. Zach, while devastatingly effective and efficient, needs entry passes and is limited to scoring around the basket.
I’ve got Glenn in a league of his own, and Zach in the next tier down (in terms of post NCAA tournament expansion players) with Biggie, E’Twaun, Carsen, and JaJuan (Robbie would be in this tier if not for the injuries).
Of course, Zach’s resume is tarnished by Purdue’s opening round loss. As National Player of the Year, Glenn carried Purdue to the Elite 8, knocking off Alabama (featuring Jason Caffey and Antonio McDyess) and Kansas (featuring Greg Ostertag, Jacque Vaughn, and Scot Pollard) before succumbing to a sore back and a Duke team (featuring Grant Hill, Cherokee Parks and like 10 current head coaches) that would go on to win the National Championship. Zach’s team got knocked off by a group of guys who will be working 9-5 once they graduate. Zach didn’t get the help he needed, but Glenn didn’t need help.
Glenn also helped Purdue hang a regular season banner in a brutal Big10. Wisconsin had Michael Finley, Indiana had Alan Henderson and Damon Bailey, Michigan had Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard (basically the Fan 5 minus Webber). Zach dominated a meh, Big10 without much top level talent. Again, advantage Big Dog.
Zach Edey had a legendary season, but not the best in modern Purdue history. If he wants to expand his game and give it another shot, I’d be amenable.
Yes and no. The dominance is sure there but the Big Dog could do it all from shooting threes, taking centers into the post, hitting the mid range jumpers, playing defense, and getting teammates involved. When people who know the game say Glenn was the most dominant college player they have ever seen, it’s not hyperbole. Now, if Edey decides to come back and wins another consensus National Player of the Year Award and is the first to do it in back to back years since Bill Walton in the early 70’s, you have to start having the conversation that Edey is possibly the best B1G player of the last 30 years or more.