What Zach Edey Said After Purdue's Win Over Tennessee to Advance to the Final Four

Zach Edey was dominant in Purdue's Elite Eight win over Tennessee, scoring 40 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. After the game, the 7-foot-4 center talked about getting Matt Painter to a Final Four, cutting down the net for Gene Keady and his own personal journey with the Boilermakers.
Purdue center Zach Edey (15) looks on after 72-66 win over Tennessee at the NCAA tournament Midwest
Purdue center Zach Edey (15) looks on after 72-66 win over Tennessee at the NCAA tournament Midwest / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Zach Edey put together one of the most dominant NCAA Tournament performances in history on Sunday. The reigning National Player of the Year scored 40 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in Purdue's 72-66 win over Tennessee in the Elite Eight.

Thanks to his efforts, the Boilermakers are heading to the Final Four for the first time since 1980. Here's everything Edey had to say following Purdue's signature win over Tennessee.

On Edey giving coach Gene Keady a piece of the net ...

You've always got to pay respect to those that came first. He built this. It doesn't go over our heads. He helped set this all up. To be able to pay him back and give him a little piece of net, it's the least I can do.

On how Purdue is playing "differently" this offseason ...

I think it's just basketball. I think what wins basketball games in the regular season wins basketball games in the postseason. The rules stay the same. Our team stays the same. Everything's the same. It's just basketball.

What we do wins games a lot, and you kind of saw it on this stage.

On what it means to reach the Final Four after last season's disappointment ...

Yeah, we've been through it all as a team. It kind of happens when you come back. There's no scenario we haven't been in before. We're never going to panic, like anything. We're going to keep playing, keep executing, keep doing what we do. That's kind of the message.

On Edey's big block against Dalton Knecht late in the game ...

Obviously I missed that free throw before. I was just trying to get back and trying to make my presence felt on the defensive end, kind of make up for it. He drove in, and I felt like that was a play I could make, and I made it.

On Edey playing almost the entire 40 minutes vs. Tennessee ...

It's what we expected. Like I don't want to come off the floor. I don't care how my legs are feeling, how my body is feeling. I want to stay on that floor, and I want to keep impacting the game. That's what everybody on the team wants. Nobody wants to come off. I'm never going to complain about playing a lot of minutes.

On what it means to get coach Matt Painter to the Final Four ...

It's amazing. I get to pay him back. Like there were so many coaches that looked over me, like you could -- name a program, I could name a coach that looked over me. Tennessee, Rick Barnes is a great coach, but he was at our practice, looked over me.

It's kind of been the story of my life. People have doubted me. People looked past me. Can't do that anymore.

On Edey's journey at Purdue ...

It's been a long journey. Obviously I've been outside my country for the past five, six years, starting in 11th grade. To kind of end up where I am now, it's amazing, but we still have a lot of basketball left to play.

On Purdue winning the rebound battle against Tennessee ...

The rebounds isn't just me obviously. I got however many I got, but I'm not out there boxing out five people. We've got a lot of guys that were doing the right things, a lot of guys that came with the right mindset, and we knew it was going to be a war. We weren't surprised by anything they do, any hard checks they throw. We knew it was going to happen. So it's not just me, it's the whole team that contributes to that rebound difference.

Related stories on Purdue basketball

  • WHAT MATT PAINTER SAID: For the first time as a coach, Matt Painter is heading to the Final Four. Here's everything the longtime leader of the Boilermakers said following Purdue's 72-66 win over Tennessee in the Elite Eight. CLICK HERE
  • WHAT LANCE JONES SAID: This season, Lance Jones has provided an athletic spark for Purdue. On Sunday, the senior guard hit a huge shot to help lift the Boilermakers to a win over the Volunteers. Here's what Jones had to say following the game. CLICK HERE
  • WHAT BRADEN SMITH SAID: In Sunday's win over Tennessee, Braden Smith scored nine points, dished out seven assists and grabbed seven rebounds. Here's everything the star point guard had to say following his performance. CLICK HERE

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Dustin Schutte