Zach Edey’s return to Purdue is a boon for college basketball

Breathe a sigh of relief and rejoice, West Lafayette.

National player of the year Zach Ade announced Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the NBA draft and running it back for his final season with Purdue.

The 7-foot-4 center was the most dominant force in college basketball last season, averaging 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds per game on 61% shooting from the floor. He went for more than 30 points eight times.

That’s great news for college basketball and a headache for the rest of the Big Ten.

For Ade, an expected late second-rounder, the fact is that he could benefit more from staying at Purdue for another year in his brand and the NIL than he would from going the NBA route and possibly reaching the G League ranks. I will be by losing.

He’ll be the face of college basketball and the Big Ten, and appear on TV several times, making some serious money – provided he can work around some visa issues as a Canadian.

However, there is a bigger picture behind his decision to get back on the floor. What will coach Matt Painter and the Boilermakers do with this jackpot news?

To say that Purdue will have to redeem itself in March would be an understatement.

After becoming only the second 1-seed in college basketball history last March after losing to a 16-seed (FDU), the Boiler may not be the team going into next season.

I am not proposing drastic changes. The team was one of eight in the country to finish in the top-25 in Kenpom Offensive And Last season’s defensive efficiency.

The continued growth of other guards Braden Smith and Fletcher Lauer will be key. Creating a little more momentum could also be a way to find some wrinkles as last season the Boilers ranked 324th out of 363 teams in that category.

The defensive end isn’t necessarily a need field, as Purdue showed great potential on that end of the floor.

What the 2023-2024 season will be, it does not depend on Eddie. Painter indicated this in February after a defeat in Maryland.

“We have to balance driving, making 3s and posting Zach (Edey),” Painter told Fox Sports. “If we don’t have that balance, the defense will narrow the field for us.”

For now, it’s a holiday for Purdue, as the news likely puts them in the top five in preseason polls, which is what Virginia did from 2018 to 2019: going from losing to the 16-seed to winning the national title. The development of the Boilermakers’ shots at the rim will determine whether they can get there, but you’ll need inland rock to make it all work, and Ade is the best in the land – and there’s no stopping him.

John Fanta is a national basketball broadcaster and writer for Fox Sports. He covers sports in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the Big East Digital Network to providing on-field commentary for the 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @john_fanta,

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