Zach Edey, the towering center for the Purdue Boilermakers, has been named the Associated Press men’s college basketball player of the year. The 7’4″ Canadian dominated both ends of the court during the regular season, receiving all but one vote from a 58-person media panel. Edey led Purdue to its first outright Big Ten regular-season title since 2017, while shooting an impressive 62% from the floor and averaging 2.1 blocked shots per game.
Edey’s exceptional season saw him become the first player since Navy’s David Robinson in 1985-86 to have at least 750 points, 450 rebounds, and 50 blocked shots in a season. Despite his individual success, the season ended in disappointment for Edey and the Boilermakers, as they lost to Fairleigh Dickinson in the NCAA Tournament’s first round. Purdue’s defeat joined Virginia in 2018 as the only No. 1 seeds to lose to a No. 16.
Edey’s outstanding performance on the court earned him the prestigious award, but the season’s early exit left him feeling low. He spent the days following the loss lying low and switched off from his phone. While he appreciated winning individual accolades, he was disappointed with how the season ended.
Basketball wasn’t Edey’s first choice when he was growing up in Toronto. He was a hockey and baseball player before eventually taking up basketball. Standing at 6’2″ by the sixth grade, adults encouraged him to pursue basketball, where his size would be a significant advantage. Edey played for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he faced off against some of the best high school players in the nation, garnering attention from college coaches. He eventually chose Purdue, where coach Matt Painter had a proven track record of developing big men.
Edey’s first year with the Boilermakers saw him in a limited role, but he stepped up last season, averaging 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds. He played alongside talented big man Trevion Williams and future NBA lottery pick Jaden Ivey. Edey’s tireless work ethic saw him spending extra time after practice and taking better care of his body during the offseason.
While Edey’s individual achievements are impressive, he is focused on helping the Boilermakers reach their goals as a team. With his size, athleticism, and skill on both ends of the court, Edey is sure to continue making waves in college basketball.