COLUMBUS, Ohio − Zach Edey, the shy, quiet kid who Purdue brought to West Lafayette as a development project, has grown over three basketball seasons with the Boilermakers.
Now, the 7-foot-4 junior center has to decide if that chapter of his life is over.
Friday night, after being on the wrong end of a shocking NCAA tournament loss to 16th-seed FDU, Edey leaned forward in a folding chair in Purdue’s locker room and mulled his next move.
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“I want to come back and I want to go to war with them, but at the end of the day I have to make the best decision for me,” said Edey, the Big Ten Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. “I have no idea how long my career is going to last. I have no idea what’s going to happen in my future.”
As Edey’s stock rose during a season where Purdue entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed after winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships, he never thought about beyond this year.
Edey averaged 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds per game as a junior.
“If there was no money involved, I would come back to Purdue in a heartbeat,” Edey said. “It’d be a no brainer. This is my favorite locker room I’ve ever been in. Ever. Any sport I’ve been in. Baseball. Hockey. Basketball. Any team. High school. AAU. Club team.
“It’s my favorite locker room I’ve ever been in.”
That’s why this is so hard.
On one end, Edey can make a lot of money if he opts to play professional basketball. He knows basketball is not a lifelong career and you have to strike while the iron is hot.
On the other side, his best friends are at Purdue and everyone, aside from David Jenkins Jr. and Matt Frost, can return next season.
“That’s been something I’ve been trying to think as little about next year up until this moment,” Edey said. “I was just trying to focus on our game. I was trying to focus on the season we’re having. I really tried to enjoy the moments that we were having. That’s something I’ve got to take into account now.
“I have to do what is best for me and my family at this point. I have no idea what that is going to be.”
Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Purdue basketball’s Zach Edey on his future plans