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Canadian basketball star Zach Edey dominates NCAA March Madness | RCI

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As the Purdue Boilermakers attempt to move one step closer to a NCAA men’s basketball championship Friday, all eyes will be on Toronto-born superstar Zach Edey. 

Edey, who’s looking to become the first back-to-back winner of the Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year in 40 years, and his teammates will face off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the NCAA tournament’s Sweet Sixteen Friday night. 

His mother, Julia Edey, said when choosing schools he wanted to go to a team that regularly made March Madness. 

Now, if you ever thought that we’d be at March Madness four years in a row and he’d be the reigning national player of the year — I mean, I don’t dream that big, but I have to say, he dreams pretty big, she said in an interview with CBC News. 

His mother has been by his side throughout his record-setting college career. As soon as he got to Purdue, which is in Indiana, she got an AirBnB there. 

Every season she has done that and it’s been great for me just to have someone in the stands who I know and who I recognize, he told reporters on Thursday.

Edey looks to lead Purdue to its first Elite Eight since 2019. Purdue’s career scoring and rebounding leader is coming off another dominant performance against Utah State, where he recorded 23 points and 14 rebounds. 

Impossible to cover at 7-foot-4

Edey isn’t just good. Gonzaga coach Mark Few told reporters Thursday how special a player the seven-foot-four Edey is. 

I’ve been doing this a long, long, long time, and you just have never dealt with something like Zach, that size but yet that good of a player, he said. 

WATCH | Edey will leave Purdue as the school’s all-time leading scorer:Canadian Zach Edey dominates NCAA March Madness (new window)

Canadian Zach Edey is putting up a dominating performance, leading Purdue into the final ‘sweet 16’ in the NCAA men’s March Madness. While he’s now a rising star, Edey attributes a lot of his success to the continued support of his family.

Few said Edey can pass well, shoot free throws and disrupt things on defense with his massive size. 

Myron Medcalf, a college basketball reporter with ESPN, told CBC News that Edey’s impossible to match up against. 

There is no one really built to guard a guy like that, he said.

Medcalf said Edey has improved from last season, when he was named player of the year. 

In terms of college players, he’ll go down as one of the great big men, he said. If they win the national championship, he’ll go down as a legend. 

This season marks the final year of Edey’s NCAA eligibility. When it comes to what’s next, Medcalf thinks Edey could find a place in the NBA. 

He notes there are not many players built like Edey in the league, which has become more focused on agility and mobility, according to Medcalf. He said he may not be a 35-minute-a-game player, like stars LeBron James, Jayson Tatum or Luka Doncic, but he could find himself hitting the floor for 15 to 20 minutes a night.

This season marks the final year of Edey’s NCAA eligibility. When it comes to what’s next, Medcalf thinks Edey could find a place in the NBA. 

He notes there are not many players built like Edey in the league, which has become more focused on agility and mobility, according to Medcalf. He said he may not be a 35-minute-a-game player, like stars LeBron James, Jayson Tatum or Luka Doncic, but he could find himself hitting the floor for 15 to 20 minutes a night.

He is just too good to not get to the NBA, Medcalf said. 

Julia Edey said her son, while dreaming big, is also humble, he’d be happy just to play professional basketball anywhere. She said whatever happens next, she knows what they need to do.

Hang on tight, buckle up, take a deep breath and remember to breathe. 

CBC News with files from Jamie Strashin

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