Zach Edey on learning from NBAers and where he wants to improve

Purdue centre Zach Edey discusses what he has to do to get better as he readies himself for the NBA and how his role under Nick Nurse is different than in college.

Video Transcript

- If you were to describe what the difference is playing that [INAUDIBLE] great players in that tournament, what's the level like compared to playing with grown men NBA players?

ZACH EDEY: It's not comparable obviously. This is-- everyone in here is a professional athlete, except for me basically. Obviously, there's great players, there's great talent, and great potential in that U19 team. But there's a lot of people who were-- that were pretty good. And there was a lot of people who are like, [INAUDIBLE] the all-Star five team I think. Everyone on that, besides me, is going to be a lottery pick.

But there's a lot of talent. Here, you can see where the talent kind of goes. This is where the talent has grown up and they become really great players. So yeah, it's just different systems obviously. Coach Painter, he's a great coach. Nick Nurse, obviously, he's a great coach too. It's just one is an NBA system, one is a college system. So it's a lot of-- and here, I'm learning-- I'm setting a lot of ball screens. I'm learning how to space to dunkers, stuff like that. Whereas in college, I'm kind of the guy who, I post up on the block, I get the ball, then the offense kind of runs through me.

So it's just two different systems really. I'm learning how to adapt and play within both of them and using them to kind of grow my game.

- Just to expand on that, if there's any other subtle adjustments that you've had to make, what would it be?

ZACH EDEY: Really just learning how to play, give the other players a lot of space. Kind of in college, I'm the guy who players space around me, whereas here, there's NBA All stars. I got to learn how to kind of give them space, give them time, and help them out to slow the ball as much as possible.

- [INAUDIBLE]. That's probably a little different. You're probably not used to having the ball in those areas of the floor and making decisions and everything, right?

ZACH EDEY: Yeah, for sure. It's a lot of just different situations, different experiences that I'm not going to get in college or I'm not getting in college yet that I can use to really-- I can take, like you said, the short role that I'm learning here, I can bring that into college next year to help our teams break a blitz ball screen. Stuff like that that I might not work on at Purdue that could really help me next season.

- Zach, how tough was the decision not to go into the draft this year? Or what's--

ZACH EDEY: I'd say it was something I really thought about for a few months. I didn't want to just go through the draft process just for the sake of saying, I went through the draft process. I wanted-- if I was going to do it, I really wanted to make sure that I did. I would have done a lot of workouts last summer, workouts, stuff like that. But I felt like that was really would have shortened my off season a lot. I was trying to focus on being the best player I can next season, not-- if I'm not really--

If I don't feel like the situation is right for me to go to the NBA draft, I'm not going to do all those 10, 20 workouts that these other guys are doing. I'm going to-- naturally, I'm going to stay with my college and practice. So I felt like that wouldn't have been the best situation for me. So I decided not to enter my name at all.

- What do you think is the one thing you've got to show right now or next year to get yourself drafted?

ZACH EDEY: Yeah, there's a lot of things. Obviously, there's the obvious things everyone talks about, the ball screen defense, move my feet. But there's a lot of other things like my free throw shot, I got to work on protecting the rim, maybe spacing the floor a little bit, stuff like that. There's a lot of things I can work on. There's a lot of things I am working on.

- [INAUDIBLE] big guys who could be too big sometimes, it seems like. You look at Rudy Gobert, you look at the contact that [INAUDIBLE] got in [INAUDIBLE]. I mean, who are some of the guys that you kind of look at and go, I can do that job the way they do?

ZACH EDEY: Yeah, there's a lot of guys, like guys like offensive centers like Vucevic, and Joel Embiid, and like Jokic, guys like those. Obviously, if I lock success in the league, I can try to emulate what they do and see how-- if it's going to work in the NBA, it's obviously going to work in college. So just looking at what they're doing and how they're doing it, and working on that as much as possible.

- How can players that are [INAUDIBLE]?

ZACH EDEY: Can you repeat that?

- Sorry?

ZACH EDEY: Can you repeat--

- Of the players that were listed [INAUDIBLE]? So what was that experience like? How did you [INAUDIBLE] approaching you with this opportunity?

ZACH EDEY: Yeah, it started last summer. They made [INAUDIBLE] off the jump basically right after I was done with the U19 thing. That summer, I went-- we went to Vegas, a bunch of-- everyone who was going to commit. And then we had a big team dinner. They kind of said, hey,. If you want to do this, you guys have to be serious. You have to commit for three years. You can't just hop into the Olympics and hop out. So they've really included me since day one of the team forming.

- [INAUDIBLE]. How flattering was that?

ZACH EDEY: It's crazy, obviously. To walk in the room, everybody else is making millions of dollars. I'm still in college. It's just really crazy to think about. But it's an honor for sure.

- Zach, you kind of talked around this. But when you do make that jump to the professional level, do you feel like this experience is going to help you be able to step in right away and just maybe just play right away, or just be kind of more ready than you would if you didn't go through [INAUDIBLE]?

ZACH EDEY: For sure because I didn't know what to expect. I know kind of how with Nick Nurse [INAUDIBLE] obviously, it's kind of like an NBA system. It's a lot of ball screens, a lot of-- I would know my role stepping into the NBA because of this camp.

- Among some of the best here. Who's been kind of helping the team? [INAUDIBLE] Mr. Melvin, or [INAUDIBLE]?

ZACH EDEY: Yeah.

- Those guys?

ZACH EDEY: Yeah, there's been a bunch of guys. Obviously, yeah. Dwight has helped a lot. Kelly has helped a lot. Connor over there has helped a lot. Yeah, he's not here right now. He's not here this year. But last year, Andrew Nicholson helped a lot. Just a lot of guys that are just are really embracing me and helping me succeed in this environment.

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