Shaquille O’Neal gives Zach Edey new nickname after impressive March Madness stats



Zach Edey has come as advertised in the early stages of the men’s March Madness tournament and one of the greatest all time has taken notice.

Shaquille O’Neal posted on his Instagram page that he is changing Edey’s name to “Zachille O’Neal.”

The new nickname comes after Edey became the first player since O’Neal in 1991 and ’92 to have more than 20 points and three blocks in three straight tournament games.

Edey had 23 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks against Utah State Sunday to help Purdue reach the Sweet 16.

He is also the first player since Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to put up 50 points and 35 rebounds while shooting 65 per cent through the first two games of the tournament. Edey had 30 points and 21 rebounds in the opener against Grambling State.

After Sunday’s win, Purdue head coach Matt Painter made sure not to mince words when coming to the defence of his seven-foot-four star who he believes hasn’t earned enough respect.

“Yeah, they just shouldn’t cover basketball,” Painter said with a laugh when asked what he thinks of detractors of Edey’s game. “I think all coaches should take a test so they understand refereeing, and I think all referees should take a test so they understand coaching, and I think all journalists should have to take a basketball quiz or test.”

Edey and the Boilermakers will have another opportunity to dispel the doubters, and prove Painter right, when they face No. 5 Gonzaga and fellow Canadian Ryan Nembhard on Friday in Sweet 16 action in Detroit. The game will be a rematch from November in the Maui Invitational when Purdue won 73-63.


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