Purdue’s standout center, Zach Edey, is on the cusp of a life-changing decision: whether to go pro and join the ranks of the NBA or return to Purdue for another season. The 7-foot-4 Edey, the reigning consensus national player of the year, has dominated collegiate basketball but faces a different set of challenges in the NBA.
Why He’s Likely Turning Pro
As a traditional big man without much lateral quickness, Edey’s adjustment to the fast-paced NBA game could present challenges. However, his impressive performances during the NBA combine, showcasing a 7-10 1/2 wingspan, an 11-9 1/2 standing reach, and unexpected agility, have started to turn heads among NBA executives.
Edey sees himself fitting into the NBA as a player similar to Brook Lopez, Jonas Valanciunas, Ivica Zubac, and Steven Adams—big men who excel near the basket, rebounding, setting hard screens, and scoring primarily through putbacks.
The Case for Edey to Return to Purdue
Despite his stellar college performances, Edey’s NBA draft prospects are still uncertain, with experts largely projecting him as a second-round pick, if he’s selected at all. That uncertainty leaves Edey facing a tough decision: take a leap towards an uncertain pro career or return to Purdue and try to improve his stock for the next year.
If Edey goes pro, it’s likely he would start at or near the league minimum, which is expected to be around $1.1 million next year. However, Purdue offers a competitive alternative through name, image, and likeness (NIL) payment guarantees.
Edey, a Canadian citizen, currently faces restrictions on working in the U.S. due to his student visa, but Purdue and Edey’s team are working to secure a different visa to facilitate potential NIL earnings. Most NIL tracking websites show Edey earning a little over $800,000 if he returns to Purdue.
Has Zach Edey Already Made Up His Mind?
In terms of leaning toward a decision, my analysis suggests that Edey might be leaning slightly toward the NBA. His performances at the NBA combine have raised his profile, and the prospect of securing an NBA contract appears increasingly plausible. Edey is seeking that “golden opportunity” as described by Purdue coach Matt Painter, where NBA teams express not just interest, but a belief in his potential to play in the league.
However, Edey has also stated that he’s not ruling out a return to Purdue. He’s expressed a great deal of loyalty to the school, appreciating the coaching staff, locker room environment, and the chance to win many games next year.
In the coming days, Edey, his family, and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, will be making a final decision based on feedback and draft projections from NBA teams. Regardless of the outcome, it’s clear that this is a crucial juncture in Edey’s basketball career.
Please note: This report is based on the available information up to May 30, 2023. The final decision from Zach Edey is not confirmed at this time. For the most up-to-date information, check back often.