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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander offers thoughts on Zach Edey’s NBA potential

After a busy weekend, the 2024 NCAA Tournament has dwindled to 16 teams vying for a national championship. A heavy favorite to win March Madness will be Purdue. Zach Edey has played a large role in that.

After forgoing the 2023 NBA draft, Edey returned to college for his senior season at Purdue. The decision has paid off as he went from a late-second-round pick to a probable first-round selection in this year’s draft.

The 21-year-old has been dominant for Purdue, who entered the tournament with a 29-4 record and the No. 3 overall seed. The seven-foot-four center averaged 24.5 points on 62% shooting, 12.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 35 games.

Through two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Edey’s dominance has carried over. He averaged 26.5 points on 68% shooting, 17.5 rebounds and three blocks in two blowout wins over Grambling and Utah State.

MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is familiar with Edey. The pair played together for Canada during the 2023 FIBA World Cup. He led his home country to third place, the best finish it’s ever had.

Edey is also somewhat familiar with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He visited OKC for a pre-draft interview last summer before removing his name from the draft pool and returning to college.

After the Thunder’s win over the Toronto Raptors, Gilgeous-Alexander was asked about Edey and his thoughts on how translatable his game is to the NBA.

Doubts have surrounded Edey as the 300-pound big man might be too slow to succeed in the NBA. Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t a skeptic about his former teammates though, as he believes he’s too dominant as a big man to fail.

“He’ll figure his way out. He’s big, he’s smart. He soaks things up quick. He’s a humble kid and wants to be really good,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “That’s what I got from him this summer — besides obviously, the eye-popping stats and skills and stuff like that. I think he’ll figure it out. As far as his archetype, the last two MVPs have been big guys, so he’ll be just fine.”

This is a pretty strong endorsement for Edey, who’ll get a chance to prove his skeptics wrong next season in the NBA. It’s a nice confidence booster to have one of the best players in the league in your corner.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire