Purdue should now officially be viewed again as one of the top teams in college basketball this season, now that Consensus Player-of-the-Year Zach Edey has decided to put his professional ambitions on hold and return to college for his senior season.
Winner of last season’s Wooden Award and Naismith Award and similar honors from the USBWA, NABC , AP and Sporting News — Big Ten Player-of-the-Year was a mere redundancy — Edey declared for the NBA Draft, attended the draft combine and a few other events, but has decided against making the jump at this time, surely for a variety of reasons, but also a reflection of the NIL Era, in which players can earn comparable money in college as they would with uncertain pro outlooks.
More (On3+): What would Edey’s return mean for Purdue?
The 7-foot-4, 300-pound Toronto native averaged 22-plus points and 13 rebounds as a junior, leading Purdue to a surprising Big Ten championship season and a No. 1 seed to the NCAA Tournament. For the second consecutive season, the Boilermakers reached the top spot in the AP poll, thanks largely to Edey, whose emergence as an elite player coincided with many personnel changes around him, notably Purdue’s heavy reliance on a pair of true freshman guards.
With Edey back, the Boilermakers return virtually their entire core from last season, with only departed senior David Jenkins and transfer Brandon Newman (Western Kentucky) leaving. Purdue adds COVID-year grad transfer guard Lance Jones, well-regarded freshman Myles Colvin and promising redshirted wing Camden Heide to the playing rotation, also.
Edey will join fifth-year forward Mason Gillis and fourth-year swingman Ethan Morton, and Jones, as part of a four-man senior class, Purdue’s largest since 2017-2018, when Vincent Edwards, P.J. Thompson, Isaac Haas and Dakota Mathias played out their eligibility.
More to come.