Purdue Boilermakers and NCAA Basketball Early Odds: Five Returning Starters

Purdue Boilermakers and NCAA Basketball Early Odds: Five Returning Starters

The deadline for players to withdraw their name from the 2023 NBA Draft was Wednesday night and easily the biggest-name player to choose to return to school, literally, is Purdue 7-foot-4 Canadian center Zach Edey, the 2022-23 National Player of the Year. With him back in West Lafayette, the Boilermakers are now +1400 to win the 2024 NCAA Tournament with all five starters returning for Coach Matt Painter. Edey announced his intention via his Twitter page, where he just posted the Tweet, “Run It Back”.


2024 NCAA Tournament Odds: Purdue Back Among Title Favorites With Superstar Zach Edey Returning


Edey, who is from Toronto, averaged 22.9 points and 12.9 rebounds last season and shot 60.7% from the field — ranking sixth in scoring, second in rebounds and 21st in field goal percentage. Edey also averaged more than two blocked shots per game. He scored at least 30 points on eight occasions. Edey scored in double figures in every game last season and had 28 double-doubles.

He won all six major National Player of the Year accolades, was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, a first-team consensus All-American and became the first player in NCAA history with at least 750 points, 400 rebounds, 70 blocks and 50 assists in a season. For his career in 99 games, he has 1,533 points, the fourth most for a player through his junior season in school history (Carsen Edwards, Glenn Robinson, Rick Mount), with 847 rebounds, 148 blocks and 106 assists.

Edey ranked sixth nationally in scoring, second in rebounds, 19th in blocked shots and 21st in field goal percentage (.607), being one of five players in the last 30 years to rank in the top 25 of those four statistical categories in the same season (Saint Mary’s Omar Samhan – 2010; Central Michigan’s Chris Kaman – 2003; Pacific’s Michael Olowokandi – 1998; Tennessee State’s Carlos Rogers – 1994). ). In addition, he has won the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year Award and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation’s top center.

Edey became just the second player in Big Ten history to lead the league in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage and is one of just nine players (Blake Griffin, Ike Diogu, Antawn Jamison, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Walton, Lew Alcindor, Gary Bradds) to lead a major-college conference in all three categories in NCAA history. Griffin was the last to do so in 2009.

Yet Edey isn’t considered a top draft prospect and wasn’t expected to be a first-round pick next month because Edey’s footwork is poor, he has little upper-body strength and no jumper to speak of. Purdue has had a player drafted in five of the last seven NBA Drafts, the last three (Caleb Swanigan, Carsen Edwards, Jaden Ivey) players leaving college early.

Painter returns all five starters and seven of the top-eight scorers from last year’s team that went 29-6 and won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament title but was stunned in Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament by No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson, 63-58. No. 16s had a 1-150 record against No. 1s and were 1-151 overall before FDU’s shocker.

Purdue will certainly be a preseason Top 10 if not Top 5 team when the polls are out later this year. Painter adds Lance Jones as he will take advantage of the extra COVID year granted by the NCAA after spending his last four years at Southern Illinois University.

Jones, a 6-foot-1 guard, was a two-time member of the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Defense Team, while earning third-team All-MVC honors as a senior in 2022-23 as well during his sophomore year in 2020-21. As a senior, he averaged 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, while grabbing 54 steals and making 70, 3-pointers. He helped the Salukis to a 23-10 overall record while posting 24-double-digit scoring games and three games of 20 or more points.

While Purdue’s full schedule isn’t out yet, the Boilers will host Xavier in Mackey Arena as part of the 2023 Gavitt Games on Monday, Nov. 13. The announced game is the fourth game on Purdue’s schedule, having previously been announced that Purdue will play in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational during Thanksgiving week (Chaminade, Gonzaga, Kansas, Marquette, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee and UCLA) with three games in Hawaii.


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