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Zach Edey turning down NBA Draft green room to celebrate with his Purdue teammates is so cool

The decision by the Memphis Grizzlies to take Zach Edey with the No. 9 pick in the NBA Draft was easily the most divisive decision of the top-10. To some, Edey is a prolific college powerhouse, a dominant talent who was a no-brainer, others see a physically-limited, low-upside center who will be eaten alive by the NBA’s athleticism. But no matter which side of the fence you fall on, there’s no debating that Edey is a genuinely great dude.

This shined through on Thursday night, when instead of accepting an invite to The Barclay’s Center to be a part of the pomp and circumstance of the draft, instead Edey spent the evening with his former Purdue teammates and watched it all unfold on TV.

Edey informed the NBA last week that he wouldn’t be attending the draft in person, turning down his green room invite. He told league officials that he was going to stay and watch with his coaches, teammates, family and friends at Purdue — which included Mason Gillis, who transferred to Duke last month, but was still there to celebrate Edey’s big moment.

It’s aspects like this of Edey’s personality which will make him a fan-favorite in Memphis. A true throwback center in an era of stretch players, time will tell whether the experiment will work — but there’s no doubt that this kid has his priorities in the right place. Let’s be honest for a second too: Staying home was exceedingly smart.

Speculation on where Edey might land ranged from the late teens, all the way out of the first round. Obviously the story ended well for the Purdue big man, but by staying away from the green room he dodged the embarrassment of waiting all night to hear his name called only to be met with silence, as Duke center Kyle Filipowski did on Wednesday night when he fell out of the first round.

The new locale also allowed for Edey to get the full “Art but Sports” treatment, something he wouldn’t have likely gotten in NYC.

It’s difficult not to root for this kid, and all the players who got selected on Wednesday night. Memphis got a good one.

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