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#pounditTuesday, June 18, 2024

Shaq gives funny nickname to Zach Edey

Shaq holds a mic

Mar 24, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA: Former Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal speaks during a NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Edey has a fan in a fellow seven-footer.

The Purdue big man Edey has dominated the NCAA Tournament thus far to help lead the Boilermakers to the Sweet Sixteen. Edey is posting a monster line of 26.5 points, 17.5 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game through the first two rounds of March Madness.

Those exploits from Edey drew the attention of retired basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal. He reposted a stat about Edey becoming the first player since O’Neal himself to have at least 20 points and three blocks in three straight NCAA Tournament games (dating back to last season). O’Neal reacted by giving Edey a fantastic new nickname — “Zachille O’Neal.”

“@zach_edey way to dominate im changing your name to Zachille O’neal,” wrote O’Neal.

While it helps that the senior Edey has gone up against the weaker frontlines of Grambling State and Utah State in this season’s NCAA Tournament, he is certainly looking Diesel-like out there. Edey is scoring at will both at the rim and with his back to the basket and has completely dictated the pace and the flow of Purdue’s games so far, much like O’Neal did back in his heyday.

Now 52, O’Neal very seldom shows love to the current generation of bigs. But the 7-foot-4 Edey is one of the really rare centers who has O’Neal’s stamp of approval.

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