Syracuse Basketball: Jesse Edwards on a tear, praised by Big East legend

Syracuse basketball, Jesse Edwards (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Jesse Edwards (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball senior center Jesse Edwards is playing at an All-American level to date in the 2022-23 campaign, and I couldn’t feel happier for such a hard-working, nice young man.

The 6-foot-11 Edwards, who hails from Amsterdam, Netherlands, was in contention for the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most improved player award during the 2021-22 stanza, but his junior term got cut short when Edwards suffered a season-ending injury this past February.

In 2021-22, per ESPN statistics, Edwards averaged 12.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game, while connecting on 69.5 percent from the field but just 59.8 percent from the free-throw line. He appeared in 24 contests and averaged 28.0 minutes per affair, as the ‘Cuse went 16-17 overall.

Fast-forward to the present, and Syracuse basketball is 6-4 after defeating Georgetown at home on Saturday afternoon by 19 points. The Orange has put its recent three-contest setback streak, hopefully, in the rear-view mirror, as the ‘Cuse has now won three in a row.

In conquering Notre Dame on the road and then Oakland and the Hoyas on the Hill, Jesse Edwards has been fabulous. His talents on both ends of the floor are a major reason why the Orange eyes a fourth-straight victory when the team hosts Colonial Athletic Association member Monmouth on Monday night.

Syracuse basketball center Jesse Edwards, to date, is having a monster senior year.

In the squad’s 83-64 thumping of Georgetown, Edwards was a menace. He played 32 minutes and tallied 20 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and three assists, while hitting on 10-of-14 from the field.

Mike Waters of published an article where the Hoyas’ head coach, Patrick Ewing, directed a lot of praise in the direction of Jesse Edwards.

Regardless of how ‘Cuse fans feel about the team’s storied rival Georgetown, when Ewing discusses a collegiate big man, I listen. Ewing, in his iconic Hoyas career, was a three-time first-team All-American. He led Georgetown to three NCAA Tournament championship game appearances, including the national title in 1984.

Undeniably, Ewing is not only a Big East Conference legend, but he’s also one of the most important players in the history of college basketball.

When the Orange knocked off Notre Dame on the road by one point not too long ago, Edwards played all 40 minutes. He collected 22 points, 16 boards, one assist and one steal.

In the ‘Cuse recent blowout victory over Oakland at the JMA Wireless Dome, Edwards only needed to play 23 minutes, but he still had 18 points on 100 percent shooting from the field, to go along with seven rebounds, two blocks and one steal.

Most importantly, given that he’s dealt with foul trouble throughout his tenure in Central New York, I’m pleased to share that over his last three games, Edwards has only been whistled for a combined four fouls.

Now, we’ll have to wait and see how he fares as the 2022-23 schedule gets more challenging amid the meat of the ACC calendar. But for the time being anyway, I for one believe Jesse Edwards is among the best centers across the country.

Through 10 encounters in 2022-23, he is averaging 30.2 minutes, 15.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game, while hitting on 67.0 percent from the field and a solid 71.4 percent from the charity stripe.

At present, Edwards leads Syracuse basketball in points, rebounds and blocks per game.

When I wrote this column on Sunday afternoon, per the NCAA’s Web site, Edwards was No. 5 nationally in rebounds per contest, No. 11 in field-goal shooting percentage, and No. 12 in blocks a game.

Candidly, I figured that Jesse Edwards was primed for a stellar senior season, assuming he was fully healthy. I hope what he’s doing on the court continues for the remainder of 2022-23.

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