Every once in a while, after you type words about Zach Edey and tweet them to the world, somebody will jump in your mentions and claim that the Purdue star isn’t actually great at basketball as much as he’s “just really tall.” Obviously, I think most people realize that’s a silly opinion to hold. But if you’re one of the folks subscribing to such nonsense, here’s a question: Why wasn’t Tacko Fall, who is also really tall, a two-time national player of the year?
Answer: Because, with all due respect to the UCF legend, Fall wasn’t anywhere close to Edey as a player despite also being really tall — and actually even taller! Once you acknowledge that truth, you have to also acknowledge that what Edey is doing consistently isn’t simply a byproduct of the 7-foot-4 center being physically overwhelming for nearly everybody he encounters at this level. It’s partly that, sure. But Edey’s dominance is mostly the result of hard work and development that’s made him so clearly the best college basketball player in the country — and all of that was on display again Saturday when the reigning CBS Sports National Player of the Year finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in a 79-59 win over Indiana that keeps the Boilermakers No. 1 in Sunday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings for the 31st consecutive day.
Edey also buried his first career 3-pointer. He’s now 1 of 2 from beyond the arc in 123 games at Purdue.
“I’m going to go look for [the game ball]” Edey said afterward.
I know some might point out that Edey’s latest dominant performance merely came against the fourth-best team in the state of Indiana and a program that’s about to finish lower than it started at KenPom.com for the third straight year under third-year coach Mike Woodson — and that’s all true. I can’t argue with facts. But another fact is that Edey does this against basically everybody.
He got 28 points and 15 rebounds against the Marquette team that’s No. 4 in the Top 25 And 1. He got 22 points and nine rebounds against the Arizona team that’s No. 5 in the Top 25 And 1. He got 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Tennessee team that’s No. 8 in the Top 25 And 1. He got 25 points and 14 rebounds against the Gonzaga team that just won at Kentucky. So now he’s averaging 23.3 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game on the season while shooting 62.3% from the field for a team that’s a national-best 15-2 inside of the first two quadrants.
Bottom line, what Edey is doing game after game, regardless of the competition, is wildly unusual. It should be applauded, not discounted, because he’s about to be the first back-to-back Wooden Award winner since Virginia’s Ralph Sampson won the trophy in both 1982 and 1983, and the voting shouldn’t really even be close as Edey continues to shine and headline the team that still has the best resume in the sport and remains the favorite to win the 2024 NCAA Tournament (according to FanDuel Sportsbook) despite not being ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll.
Top 25 And 1 rankings