Zach Edey declares for 2024 NBA Draft: Purdue star was one of college hoops' all-time greats

Purdue basketball star Zach Edey may have fell short of a national championship earlier this month, but the 7-foot-4 center is ready to take his talents to the next level. He's heading to the NBA.

Edey, the two-time Naismith Player of the Year, has filed paperwork to enter the 2024 NBA Draft, which is set to take place in late June, according to ESPN. Edey told the outlet that he "felt like it was time."

"I showed that I'm a physical presence on offense this season," he said. "I also showed I can play defense. I can guard in space, even defend guards."

That means Edey's prolific career at Purdue has come to an end, although it's not much of a surprise. In February, Purdue head coach Matt Painter confirmed to CBS Sports that this would be Edey's final season with the Boilermakers. (Edey had an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic that he opted to forgo.)

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Edey leaves Purdue as "the winningest player at Purdue," Painter said earlier this month. Edey holds the all-time record in both points (2,516 points) and rebounds (1,321) and is fourth all-time in career blocks (232).

He averaged a nation-high 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks this season and led the Boilermakers to back-to-back regular season titles in the Big Ten, in addition to a No. 1 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament after Purdue was upset by a No. 16 seed as a No. 1 seed in the first round the previous year. Purdue fell one win short of coming all the way back to win a national championship in a 75-60 loss to the UConn Huskies, despite Edey's double-double (37 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks).

Following the final game of his collegiate career, Edey said he wants to be remembered as the guy who gave "100% every time I stepped on the floor." He added: "You can say whatever you want about me. You can say whatever you want about how I play. But you can never say that I didn’t give it 100%."

Purdue's Zach Edey during hte national championship game.
Purdue's Zach Edey during hte national championship game.

During the six-game run in the NCAA Tournament, Edey tied Bill Bradley of Princeton in amassing the second-most points in a single tournament (177).

Painter said Edey is in the conversation for the greatest collegiate basketball players of all time.

"When you look at his numbers against the greats, there’s no question he’s in the conversation. But he’s also the winningest player at Purdue," he said. "I’d always say, 'when is he going to have a bad game? When is he just not going to show up?' He always showed up. He always competed. He always played though physicality. He’s a very unselfish player."

On Tuesday, Edey told ESPN that he's not worried about what number he is drafted. "The number doesn't matter," he said. Instead, Edey said he's "focused on the teams that believe in me. I want to find a coaching staff that believes in me and what I can do."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Zach Edey to NBA Draft: Purdue star was one of NCAA's all-time greats