Syracuse Basketball: Jesse Edwards comments on ‘Cuse NIL are telling

Syracuse basketball, Jesse Edwards (Syndication: Beaver County Times)
Syracuse basketball, Jesse Edwards (Syndication: Beaver County Times) /

Syracuse basketball senior center Jesse Edwards, who entered the NCAA’s transfer portal less than a week ago, committed to Big 12 Conference member West Virginia on Sunday, according to an article from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

The 6-foot-11 Edwards, a native of Amsterdam, Netherlands, was on an official visit to the Mountaineers this weekend, per media reports. He had a final three of West Virginia, Gonzaga and Kansas.

During the 2022-23 season, the Mountaineers went 19-15 overall, suiting up in the rugged Big 12, which to me was easily the best league nationwide this past term. West Virginia made the 2023 NCAA Tournament, falling by two points to Maryland in a round-of-64 contest.

Jesse Edwards will play for the Mountaineers as a graduate student in the upcoming 2023-24 stanza, and his head coach there will be Hall of Famer Bob Huggins, or as he is beautifully nicknamed, “Huggy Bear.”

This means that Edwards will ultimately be coached by two Hall of Famers in Jim Boeheim and now Huggins. That’s awesome for Jesse Edwards, and I’m wishing him nothing but success in the Big 12.

Syracuse basketball has a huge void to fill with the departure of senior center Jesse Edwards.

Edwards, as a senior in 2022-23, when the ‘Cuse went 17-15, blossomed into one of the top big men in the Atlantic Coast Conference and around the country. This past stanza, he averaged 14.5 points, 10.3 boards, 2.7 blocks, 1.6 assists and 1.4 steals a game, while hitting on 59.2 percent from the field and 72.9 percent from the charity stripe.

For his senior-year production, Jesse Edwards was named to the All-ACC third team as well as the league’s All-Defensive unit.

When he entered the transfer portal, he became one of the highest-rated centers in the portal, with On3 having him at No. 13, while ESPN slotted Jesse Edwards at No. 3 nationally.

As I noted earlier on Sunday, Syracuse basketball coaches do appear intent on finding another veteran center out of the transfer portal to help replace the loss of Edwards. However, some of Edwards’ comments in the ESPN story regarding the Orange’s NIL initiatives are telling, especially in the wake of the decision by businessman and philanthropist Adam Weitsman to stop doing name, image and likeness deals with SU players moving forward.

"Jesse Edwards said in part to Givony, “I mostly wanted to have a fresh start and a new challenge. NIL isn’t what I’m playing for. I didn’t really want to get into this, but it doesn’t seem that Syracuse as an organization is that into that. I’m not really sure what their plan is or what the school’s idea is behind it. For me it was something that they couldn’t offer in that way.”"

I first reported last Tuesday that Weitsman was exiting the NIL game as it pertains to the ‘Cuse. Several reports did surface in recent days suggesting that SU was trying to get a NIL done with Jesse Edwards, but that didn’t happen, complicated perhaps in part by his status as an international player. Edwards then decided to hit the portal to explore his NIL opportunities elsewhere.

Next. Syracuse Orange pushing out Adam Weitsman ‘unheard of’ – NIL attorney. dark