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What Purdue basketball will remember about Zach Edey

What Purdue basketball head coach Matt Painter and his players will remember about Zach Edey

GLENDALE, Ariz. (WISH) — Purdue University senior guard Zach Edey wrapped up a memorable collegiate career on Monday night in the NCAA Tournament title game against the UConn Huskies.

Sure, it was not the ending that Edey and No. 1-seeded Purdue wanted as the No. 1-seeded Huskies beat the Boilers 75-60 to win the NCAA Division I men’s basketball national championship. But, it was another impressive performance from Edey, who finished with 37 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

His 37 points were tied for third-most by a player in an NCAA title game.

“I just told him in the locker room, ‘You’re not going to go on in life and push past here and not deal with adversity,’” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said after the game on Monday. “In the workforce, in relationships, everything. You’re going to deal with adversity. He was superior dealing with adversity. He was a guy that didn’t get recruited, then all of a sudden he started to get recruited, then that picked up. That got him on edge. All the great ones stay on edge.”

Edey was so impressive during the 2022-23 season that it would be tough to replicate that performance his senior season. Well, he proved that theory wrong as he was even better this past year. The big man finished with 25.2 points per game and hauled in 12.2 rebounds per game during his 2023-24 campaign, his second-straight season he averaged a double-double.

“He’s the best college basketball player in the past 30, 50 years,” Purdue sophomore forward Trey Kaufman-Renn said. “He’s an incredible player. Hopefully you guys appreciate how much you had while he was here because you probably won’t get another of him. Just that level of dominance on a consistent basis and that good of a guy.”

Edey was just named the Wooden Award recipient this past week. As a result, he became the first player in over 50 years to win unanimous National Player of the Year accolades in consecutive seasons.

“Zach obviously was very dominant, but his unselfishness around everybody in the room was amazing,” Purdue sophomore guard Fletcher Loyer said. “It’s what made us who we were.”

There’s no doubt that Edey will go down as having one of the most spectacular college basketball careers in the history of the game.

“Obviously, Purdue will determine my legacy,” Edey told News 8 Sports’ reporter Andrew Chernoff on Monday. “But, I think, for me, you can say anything you want about my game. You can say anything you want about how I play. But, I don’t think you can ever say that I never stepped on the court and didn’t give it 100%. I never took a night off. I never took a practice off for four years. I left everything on the court every time I stepped on (it) and that’s the only thing that I want to be remembered for.”

Painter can’t wait to see what Edey can do at the next level.

“He’s going to be a terrific NBA player,” Painter said. “We’re really proud of him.”

Edey broke numerous records at Purdue, including the all-time scoring record at the school.