Zach Edey withdraws from Canadian men's basketball team ahead of Olympics

Zach Edey will not be competing for Canada's men's basketball team at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The seven-foot-four centre released a statement on his decision to withdraw from participating in training camp on Sunday.

Edey completed his senior season with Purdue, having fallen short in the NCAA national title game to UConn in early April before moving on to prepare for the NBA draft process. He was drafted ninth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the draft on Wednesday.

“I have made the difficult decision of pulling myself out of the process to compete for a spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with Canada," the Toronto native said. "Since last summer, I have been training and competing nonstop to achieve my goals of winning a national championship at Purdue and making it to the NBA.

"I have a duty now to properly prepare for all that is coming my way with being drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies. The work I put in this summer on my body and my game is critical for me to be the best version of myself."

Canada men's general manager Rowan Barrett expressed his support of Edey in a statement Sunday.

"While we were optimistic about having Zach join us in training camp, we understand and support him in this difficult decision," he said. "On behalf of Canada Basketball, I would like to congratulate him on being drafted into the NBA.

"We look forward to welcoming him to a future training camp and wish him the best of luck preparing for next season.”

Barrett had pointed to Edey being a question mark on the opening day of training camp on Friday. The big man wasn't on the floor and Barrett wasn't certain at that time of whether Edey would participate.

"I'm in conversation with his agent and with Memphis, it looks like they're bringing him in town today," Barrett told reporters on Friday. "The draft now being two days as opposed to one kind of pushes it a day.

"So they're gonna go in, have their conversations with him and amongst themselves and then I'll be hearing from (Grizzlies GM) Zach Kleiman in just a bit."

Edey was a back-to-back Naismith player of the year winner at Purdue.

He also competed for Canada at the FIBA World Cup last summer, helping the team win its first-ever medal at the event with bronze.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2024.

The Canadian Press