HOUSTON – The main question Zach Edey faced during the Final Four weekend was his future.
Will the National Player of the Year return to the program or make the jump to the professional ranks?
“No clue,” Edey said during a press conference to accept the Player of the Year honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association and The Associated Press, one of five he’s won following an outstanding regular season.
But afterward, the 7-foot-4 center offered a little more about what’s next. Edey didn’t make an official announcement but said he’ll “definitely go through the process” to declare for the NBA Draft and receive evaluations from the league’s scouts and general managers.
That’s as far as Edey would go in discussing his future because he just doesn’t know.
“I’m not leaning one way or another right now, and I have no idea,” he told GoldandBlack.com. “I have to wait until my evals get back and stuff like that and see what my agent tells me and make a decision from there.
“I only have good options in front of me. If go to the NBA, I’ll get drafted. If I don’t go to the NBA, I’ll come back to Purdue, and I’ll make a lot of money, and I’ll have a really good time here. Either way, I have no bad situations.”
If invited to the NBA Combine in May, Edey will leave it up to his agent to determine if the native of Toronto, Canada, will attend.
“I trust my agent with that type of stuff,” Edey said. “He’s a great guy. (Coach Matt Painter) really trusts him, and if Paint trusts him, I trust him. If he wants me to go to the combine, I’ll go to the combine.”
As an underclassman, Edey has until April 23 to declare for the NBA Draft but faces a deadline of May 31 to return to Purdue and retain his eligibility. The window should give Edey enough time to make an informed decision about his future.
“Where I’m going to get drafted, what teams are interested in me, and how they’re going to use me,” Edey said. “What the contract might look like and stuff like that. There’s nothing in particular that I’m looking for.”
The decision to come back or leave Purdue continues to weigh on Edey’s mind. Following the loss to Saint Peter’s in the Sweet 16 in 2022, Edey knew what direction he was headed.
For now, he remains in limbo.
“That might have been my last game at Purdue ever,” Edey said.
And that last game – a loss to No. 16 seed FDU – continues to hover over Edey and his teammates, although time has erased some of the raw emotions from the shocking defeat.
However, the setback still lingers more than three weeks later.
“I would sit with my teammates in my house, turn off our phones and try to think about other things,” said Edey, who didn’t attend the National Semifinals in Houston over the weekend. “You want to let it sit, but you don’t want to stew in it.
“We watched some games – but not too many, obviously. We’ve had to process it and let it be, and accept the fact that it did happen. We can’t change it; we have to deal with it.”
As far as reflecting on the season, which saw the Boilermakers win the Big Ten regular-season title by three games, the conference tournament championship, and beat West Virginia, Gonzaga and Duke in the Phil Knight Legacy in Portland, Ore., Edey considers it a success.
“Despite the way it ended, I think we had a great year,” Edey said. “I think it’s tough the way the NCAA works – your season is judged off one game, but I think our body of work this season was really great.
“We won everything we were in except for March Madness. All the accolades and all the games we won this year will be overshadowed by the way it ended, but it was a good year.”
While the Boilermakers are still dealing with the loss, it can’t be the only motivation heading into next season if Edey decides to return.
“You sit in it obviously, and it sits with you, but if that’s the only thing that’s motivating you, I don’t think you’re in the right sport,” Edey said. “I think you always have to be internally motivated, or you’re in the wrong sport. A lot of guys on our team have that. A lot of guys are going to sit in it and really attack this offseason. Guys are plenty motivated.”