Toronto's Zach Edey drafted 9th overall by Memphis Grizzlies

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What an incredible story. Despite only playing basketball for seven years, Zach Edey became a top-10 NBA draft pick on Wednesday night.

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Edey, the 7-foot-4 behemoth from Toronto, was selected ninth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies at the annual event in Brooklyn, N.Y. The only Canadian to ever be named NCAA player of the year (Edey won the award in consecutive seasons), Edey has improved significantly since converting from baseball and hockey to hoops. He would have been a second-round selection, at worst, had he left Purdue a year ago, but decided to stay put and nearly led the Boilermakers to the national championship. The team fell short, but it wasn’t on Edey, who dominated the NCAA tournament.

Edey started the draft workout process at home in Toronto with a spirited effort in front of Raptors brass. He worked out for a number of other teams before shutting it down after his agents were reportedly promised he’d go high.

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Still, the 22-year-old opted to take in the draft with friends, faculty and family on campus at Purdue, despite getting an invite to the green room, indicating he was a likely top-15 selection.

“I think I’m still kind of the same type of player, I’m still strong, I like to bang inside, like to get my position, like to travel in space and dominate in the paint, but I think I’ve improved my foot speed and improved my conditioning,” Edey told us after his Raptors workout. “I improved a lot of things — my touch, my feel for the game.

“I don’t even think I’m close to my ceiling. Still doing things in practice I’ve never done. Still trying to add things to my game that I’ve never done before,” Edey said. “I don’t think I’m a finished player by any means. I can still get better at every part of my game.”

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And now he’ll do it in Memphis, a franchise that used to be in Vancouver with a big man named Bryant “Big Country” Reeves manning the middle.

Edey is the highest-drafted Canadian since Montreal’s Bennedict Mathurin and Shaedon Sharpe, of London, Ont., went sixth and seventh overall in 2022. Now-Raptor RJ Barrett went third in 2019, Jamal Murray seventh in 2016. Greater Toronto natives Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins went No. 1 overall in consecutive drafts, while Tristan Thompson and Nik Stauskas also got picked in the top 10.

X: @WolstatSun

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