Purdue 7-footer Zach Edey says NBA pursuit fuels weight loss

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Check out the some of Zach Edey’s top highlights at Purdue last season. (1:52)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — To fuel his 7-foot-4 frame each morning, Purdue star Zach Edey has to load up on calories.
“It’s a lot,” he told ESPN on Sunday after practice. “This morning, I had a ham-and-cheese omelet. I had hash browns. I had some white toast. I had French toast with that. And then I went to Everbowl and I had a little Acai bowl.”
That’s more than 2,000 calories to start the day.
But the reigning Wooden Award winner said his diet and cravings have changed this season. Edey said he has lost 10 pounds in part to be a more mobile big man and prove he can compete with players at the next level. Last season, he played at 305 pounds, but he has now slimmed down to 295 pounds.
“That’s part of the reason why I slimmed down, so I’m able to guard more and be more of a presence on defense and show that I can move my feet,” he said.
On Monday night, No. 2 Purdue will face Xavier at Mackey Arena, the start of a daunting schedule for the program. The Boilermakers will face No. 11 Gonzaga next week in the Maui Invitational, which boasts a field that also includes No. 7 Tennessee, No.1 Kansas, UCLA and No. 4 Marquette. They’ll play No. 22 Alabama and No. 3 Arizona in December.
Edey has a chance to join Ralph Sampson as just the second back-to-back Wooden Award winner in college basketball history. This season, Edey has made 71% of his shots inside the arc.
He said he is already reaping the benefits of the weight loss.
“You can see it in the game, my ability to sit down and defend some of those smaller guards,” he said. “I think I showed that in the Arkansas exhibition [last month] more than I’ve ever shown it. To be able to sit down, make the switches and not be a liability on the perimeter.”
There will be 13 NBA scouts in West Lafayette for Monday’s game against Xavier.
But Edey said he’s not focused on the NBA or his future in the sport. He returned this season to chase his dream of leading Purdue to a national championship.
He said name, image and likeness opportunities helped him make the right decision for his career.
“It helps a lot,” he said. “In past years, [coach Matt Painter] probably would have told me to go to the NBA at this point. But now it’s my decision and it’s up to me, whatever I want to do. And I chose to come back to Purdue.”

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