Syracuse Basketball: If Jesse Edwards returns, that would prove massive

Syracuse basketball, Jesse Edwards (Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Jesse Edwards (Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse basketball fans, myself included, are highly anxious to hear what the future plans of senior center Jesse Edwards will entail.

The 6-foot-11 Edwards, who hails from Amsterdam, Netherlands, and put forth really solid junior and senior stanzas on the Hill, does have the option to come back to the Orange for a fifth year granted by the NCAA amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Then again, Edwards could decide that he’s ready to depart the ‘Cuse and head for the professional ranks. Plus, as I’ve seen in numerous stories lately, international players face huge challenges in trying to land name, image and likeness deals, which to me is completely unfair.

Whether the lack of NIL is a factor in Edwards’ ultimate decision is something I do not know. But in any event, if Jesse Edwards does play for the Orange in 2023-24, it would be a monumental boost for the team’s roster next season.

Syracuse basketball fans are waiting on pins and needles regarding the future of senior center Jesse Edwards.

In 2021-22, Edwards was making a potential run at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most improved player award before he got injured toward the end of that campaign. He still managed to average 12.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

As a senior in 2022-23, when the ‘Cuse sported a 17-15 overall mark, Jesse Edwards was excellent. He played in all 32 games, averaging 32.6 minutes per encounter. Edwards averaged 14.5 points, 10.3 boards, 2.7 blocks, 1.6 assists and 1.4 steals a game, while connecting on 59.2 percent from the field and a solid 72.9 percent from the charity stripe.

In 2022-23, Edwards was named to the All-ACC third team as well as the league’s All-Defensive unit. As a junior and a senior, he did experience foul trouble sometimes, but he also did a commendable job anchoring the Orange’s zone defense.

The improvement and progression of Jesse Edwards from his underclassmen years to his junior/senior stanzas were fantastic. To that end, much respect for his position coach, Syracuse basketball assistant coach Allen Griffin, for his work with Edwards over the past few years.

It will be understandable if Jesse Edwards opts to leave the Orange program for other opportunities. But his return would stabilize the center spot for the ‘Cuse in 2023-24, unless Syracuse basketball coaches end up landing a big-man transfer.

Looking ahead to 2023-24, other centers on the Orange roster are sophomore Mounir Hima and freshman Peter Carey. Carey is expected to take a medical redshirt for the 2022-23 stanza after appearing in just three games for the ‘Cuse.

Syracuse basketball also has one 2023 high-school commit in three-star William Patterson out of The Patrick School in Hillside, N.J.

While Hima, Carey and Patterson hold longer-term potential, they are inexperienced. For the Orange to shine at the center position in 2023-24, I believe that Jesse Edwards needs to return, or the ‘Cuse coaching staff needs to hit the transfer portal for a veteran center.

Next. Syracuse basketball has reached out to Auburn transfer Chance Westry. dark