Zach Edey makes his case at NBA Draft Combine: 'I have to re-establish myself.'

CHICAGO — The curious case of Zach Edey.

As a back-to-the-basket post presence with Purdue basketball, Edey was an offensive cheat code.

Twice the consensus national player of the year, all-everything and and the leader of the team that was Purdue's first to reach the Final Four in 44 years.

But ...

"I’m the college player of the year, but I’m going to the NBA," Edey said at the NBA Draft Combine on Tuesday. "You’ve got to leave all that behind. Now I’m an NBA player. I have to re-establish myself."

More: Watch Zach Edey show off his shooting range at the NBA Draft Combine

While Edey made his mark on college basketball history, there's a general belief his game won't translate to the faster-paced wide-open NBA.

The knock on Edey is he's slow and stationary and can't play away from the basket.

Big men — and at officially 7-3 3/4 inches barefoot with a wingspan of nearly 8 feet, no one at the draft combine is bigger than Edey — need to be able to shoot, defend the perimeter and display lateral quickness.

Fair enough, Edey said.

During Monday's combine drills, Edey made 14 of 25 3-pointers, shot 60% off the dribble, ran three-fourths the length of the court in 3.51 seconds and had a vertical leap of 31.5 inches.

Keep in mind he's 300 pounds in addition to those aforementioned measurables.

"He did very well. He shot the ball at a high level, moved very well," said UConn center Donovan Clingan, who guarded Edey in last month's NCAA championship game. "He is a great player. He’s tall and he’s strong. He is hard to move in the post. He rebounds the ball on both ends at a high level."

That was the recurring message Edey relayed during his media session Tuesday.

He can do other things than his college film showed. At Purdue, the right move for Edey was to post up, pick and roll and defend the rim.

Obviously, that was the right call.

If that's what an NBA franchise needs, Edey believes there's still a place even through the NBA's offensive evolution.

"It’s basketball. It’s the game I’ve been playing for six years," Edey said. "It’s just better athletes, stronger people, taller people, it’s just basketball. Rebounds are still important. Blocking shots is still important. Boxing out is still important. All those things are still important."

Edey, who entered the NBA draft after his junior season at Purdue before withdrawing in the final hours before the deadline, is a projected first-round pick.

Where remains to be seen as Edey's name has bounced all over the board in mock drafts.

Those who've competed with Edey and are present to witness him in a combine setting know he fits in the NBA, somewhere, somehow.

Marquette point guard Tyler Kolek, who is represented by the same agency as Edey, made the message clear to NBA front offices.

Don't overcomplicate it.

"The guy might be the best college player in the past 20 years," Kolek said. "People that are criticizing him don’t really know what they are talking about at the end of the day.

"For him at the next level, people obviously have question marks. He answered all the question marks in college. I believe he will answer them again."

Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Zach Edey makes his case at NBA Draft Combine, shows shooting range