Zach Edey won't play for Canada in Paris Olympics, prioritizes NBA prep with Grizzlies

Zach Edey is prioritizing his NBA prep over the Paris Olympics. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Zach Edey is prioritizing his NBA prep over the Paris Olympics. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

After a surprise selection in the draft by the Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Edey is all in on his NBA prep.

Edey announced Sunday that he is forgoing a chance to play for Team Canada at the Olympics in Paris and will instead prioritize working with the Grizzlies this summer. Edey announced his decision in a joint statement with Canada Basketball on Sunday.

"I have made the difficult decision of pulling myself out of the process to compete for a spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with Canada,” Edey’s statement reads. “Since last summer, I have been training and competing nonstop to achieve my goals of winning a national championship at Purdue and making it to the NBA. I have a duty now to properly prepare for all that is coming my way with being drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies.

“The work I put in this summer on my and and my game is critical for me to be the best version of myself.”

Edey added that playing for Canada in the Olympics "remains a lifelong dream of mine."

Canada Basketball was supportive of Edey's decision.

“We look forward to welcoming him to a future training camp and wish him the best of luck preparing for next season” Team Canada general manager Rowan Barrett wrote of Edey in the joint statement.

Edey is the latest player to bow out for Team Canada — Andrew Wiggins won't play at the Olympics due to medical reasons.

Edey's status was one of the biggest mysteries heading into last week's NBA draft. A 7-foot-4 center, Edey dominated college opponents as a two-time National Player of the Year at Purdue. His game as a traditional back-to-the-basket center with limited shooting range and lateral movement raised doubts about his future as an NBA player.

Even amid a second National Player of the Year campaign, a trip to the Final Four and the national championship game, there were questions about whether Edey would be selected at all in the NBA Draft. Projections eventually moved him up from the second round to the latter half of the first before the Grizzlies made perhaps the most surprising move of the draft.

After missing out on reported center target Donovan Klingan, Memphis selected Edey with the No. 9 overall pick. It's a lucrative slot for Edey that comes with an estimated $26.3 million contract over four years, with the first two years guaranteed by the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. Had he been selected in the second round, Edey's contract would not have come with any CBA guarantees.

Now that he's getting his NBA shot and NBA money, the Olympics will have to wait.