Syracuse basketball focused on landing center to replace Jesse Edwards

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse basketball coaches are understandably intent on finding a veteran center out of the NCAA’s transfer portal, given that senior Jesse Edwards himself entered the portal a few days ago.

The 6-foot-11 Edwards was slated to take an official visit to West Virginia this weekend and has a final three of the Mountaineers, Gonzaga and Kansas, according to media reports.

And while the ‘Cuse, looking ahead to the 2023-24 season, does have three centers on its roster, these players are all relatively young and inexperienced. In fact, sophomore Mounir Hima played spot minutes this past term, freshman Peter Carey only competed in a few games and is expected to take a medical redshirt for 2022-23, and 2023 three-star commit William Patterson is a senior at The Patrick School in Hillside, N.J.

So with Edwards, unfortunately, hitting the transfer portal, Orange coaches appear focused on picking up a center who has multiple years of college basketball experience this off-season, if at all possible.

Syracuse basketball coaches are laser-focused on finding a replacement for Jesse Edwards.

Per reports, comments from recruiting experts and my discussions with sources, the ‘Cuse has at least a couple of transfer centers in mind, and this list certainly could ebb and flow in the coming days and weeks.

The biggest get – and by extension, the toughest one, too, for the Orange – is Michigan junior transfer Hunter Dickinson. The 7-foot-1 center, who is rated the No. 1 transfer nationally per several recruiting services, was set to unofficially visit both Maryland and Georgetown this weekend, while reports say he plans to take an official visit to 2022 national champion Kansas later this week.

Syracuse basketball coaches do have recruiting ties to Dickinson’s AAU program in the Washington, D.C., market, and the Orange did conduct a Zoom meeting with Dickinson this past Wednesday. But to really have a shot to land this elite center, the ‘Cuse has to get Dickinson on the Hill for a visit.

That takes us to Oklahoma State transfer Moussa Cisse. The 7-foot-1 Cisse, a junior, was the Big 12 Conference’s defensive player of the year in 2021-22 after playing his freshman stanza at Memphis.

Recently, CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein said via Twitter that Cisse is receiving interest from various high-major programs, including Syracuse basketball. Cisse is a former five-star center and a top-10 national prospect in the 2020 class.

Another possibility for Orange coaches is North Texas transfer Abou Ousmane. Per a recent tweet from college basketball insider Adam Zagoria, the 6-foot-10 Ousmane is eyeing a possible official visit to Syracuse basketball this week.

In 2022-23, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native was on Conference USA’s all-conference third team as a junior and played a key role in North Texas going 31-7 overall and capturing the NIT championship last month.

I’ll monitor the recruitments of these three transfer centers as well as any other big men in the portal who the Orange coaching staff may end up pursuing.

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