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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Purdue’s Edey highlights Wooden top 50 list

Purdue star Zach Edey, the reigning Wooden Award winner looking to become only the second two-time winner in its history, topped the award’s Preseason Top 50 list announced Tuesday.

Edey, a 7-foot-4 center from Toronto, withdrew from the NBA draft on deadline day last May to return to the Boilermakers for his senior season. He was the perceived front-runner a year ago for essentially the entire season, establishing his candidacy at the Phil Knight Legacy in late November and finishing the season averaging 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.

He played just 44 minutes in Purdue’s first two games, blowout wins over Samford and Morehead State, averaging 17.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. In Purdue’s first test of the season Monday against Xavier, Edey played 33 minutes and went for 28 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

The last player to win the Wooden Award in back-to-back seasons was Virginia’s Ralph Sampson, who took home both the 1982 and 1983 awards.

Outside of Edey, three other big men are likely to be primary contenders for the award. Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson transferred into the program in the spring after three seasons at Michigan, where he averaged 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds last season. Duke’s Kyle Filipowski averaged 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds last season, and just had 25 points and eight rebounds against Arizona last week. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Armando Bacot is averaging 23.5 points and 16.5 rebounds through the Tar Heels’ first two games.

The list of players also includes the top three NBA prospects in high school basketball, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony: USC’s Isaiah Collier, Kentucky’s Justin Edwards and UConn’s Donovan Clingan.

Kansas and Duke — the top two teams in the AP preseason top 25 — and Creighton lead the way with three players each on the list, while North Carolina, UConn, USC, Houston, Gonzaga, Marquette and Miami have two players apiece.

The complete list of the Wooden Award preseason top 50:

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