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Purdue’s Zach Edey takes swipe at Tennessee coach as he recalls those who overlooked him

Purdue Boilermakers star Zach Edey clapped back at those who doubted him coming out of high school, including current Tennessee coach Rick Barnes, after the team’s Elite Eight win.

Edey scored 40 points against the Volunteers, helping Purdue to its first Final Four appearance since 1980. The 7-foot-4 center had a “told ya so” moment at those who passed over him as he was coming into the collegiate ranks.

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“There were so many coaches that looked over me,” Edey said. “You could name a program, I can name a coach that looked over me. Tennessee – Rick Barnes is a great coach. But he was in a bunch of our practices, looked over me.

“It’s kind of been the story of my life. People have doubted me, people have looked past me. Can’t do that anymore.”

Edey has certainly proved any doubters wrong – especially after he was on a team that lost to No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson last year. A lot has changed since then.

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He’s averaging 25 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game this season. He’s a frontrunner for the Naismith Award, which is given to college basketball’s top player. If he does win, he’d be the first to win it in consecutive years since Ralph Sampson won it three straight times from 1981 to 1983.

Fresh off the jokes of last year’s loss to Fairleigh Dickinson, coach Matt Painter took an optimistic approach.

“We had to take it,” Painter said. “Sometimes when you sit in it and you’re honest with yourself and you take it, some great things can happen.”

Next, Purdue will try to end the Cinderella story of No. 11 N.C. State. The Wolfpack shocked Duke in their Elite Eight matchup.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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