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Big Maple Northbound: Grizzlies select Canadian center Zach Edey 9th overall

Continuing their legacy of big men, the Memphis Grizzlies grabbed two-time NCAA player of the year Zach Edey at #9 in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Zach edey pops a bottle of champagne after being drafted ninth overall by the memphis grizzlies
Zach edey pops a bottle of champagne after being drafted ninth overall by the memphis grizzlies

Since their humble beginnings in Vancouver, the Memphis Grizzlies have always had a flair for big men who can score the ball. Pau Gasol established the tradition, and Zach Randolph carried the torch.

Now, the Grizzlies look to continue that legacy with the selection of Canadian center Zach Edey with the ninth overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Standing at a towering seven-foot-four, Edey becomes the ninth-highest drafted Canadian ever, and just the fifteenth from the maple leaf nation selected in the lottery portion of the draft (picks 1-13) since 1946.

He also continues a strong trend for Canadians in selected in the top round, becoming the 21st player drafted in the first round since 2011.

Opting to forgo the glitz of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Edey was surrounded by family and teammates back in West Lafayette, Indiana when NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced his selection to Memphis Grizzlies. This low-key celebration reflects Edey’s humble personality, but there’s no doubt he’s excited to bring his talents to the Bluff City.

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Edey’s journey is an inspiring one. After coming off the bench as a freshman at Purdue, averaging just 14 minutes per game, he didn’t settle for a limited role. Betting on himself, he returned to college determined and committed to improving his mobility, endurance and overall knowledge of the game.

This dedication helped him emerge as a force, leading the Boilermakers to their first Final Four appearance since 1980 and earning himself back-to-back Naismith College Player of the Year awards.

The two-time NCAA player of the year wrapped up his senior season at Purdue with a dominant performance, averaging 25.5 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 2.2 assists per game. He also rewrote history by becoming Canada’s all-time NCAA scoring leader.

Edey’s impressive development continued at the NBA combine and private workouts, where he dominated opponents, showcasing the skills that impressed teams and ultimately landed him a lucrative four-year rookie deal with the Grizzlies.

The contract is estimated to be worth $26.27 million, with the first two years guaranteed and team options for years three and four. This aligns with the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, which dictates salary ranges for first-round picks.

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A towering force on the interior, Zach Edey brings more than just scoring to Memphis. With his massive frame and soft hands, he excels in the pick-and-roll, setting bone-crushing screens that create open lanes for the Grizzlies’ explosive point guard, Ja Morant.

His offensive firepower complements a frontline that already features the size of Jaren Jackson Jr. (6’10”) and the well-rounded talent of fellow Canadian forward Brandon Clarke.

Eager to showcase his skills on a bigger stage, Zach Edey will lace up for the Memphis Grizzlies in the upcoming NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Beyond the Summer League, Edey’s talents extend to the international stage.

Recently selected to the Canadian senior men’s national team training camp roster, he could be a key contributor for Canada at the Paris 2024 Olympics, as they aim for a podium finish. With his size and dominance on the court, Edey has the potential to make a significant impact for both the Grizzlies and Team Canada.

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Memphis made. They don't make them like the Gasol's any more. And just like the power of Pau, Marc more than made his mark.


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