The Jesse Edwards saga part two is over. After transferring to West Virginia early in the offseason, questions swirled around Edwards’ future after former Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins resigned following a DUI arrest.
After that, there were plenty of questions surrounding the program. West Virginia had brought in a slew of transfers, and many thought Huggins’ absence would lead to a mass exodus that other teams could pluck from.
Kerr Kriisa, a highly touted transfer from Arizona, re-entered the portal before deciding to stay at West Virginia after Josh Eilert was elevated to head coach after being an assistant under Huggins.
There was speculation that Edwards, who cited NIL opportunities as a big reason why he left Syracuse for Morgantown, would also head back into the portal. While it was always a pipedream, it made some fans think of a potential reunion with the center, but, as was always going to be the case, that will officially not happen.
The Orange will certainly miss Edwards. He averaged nearly 15 points and over 10 rebounds per game last year, his best at the collegiate level after a big jump in production between his sophomore and junior years. Edwards’ senior season saw him establish himself as one of the premier big men in the ACC who garnered.
Instead of a solidified star in the middle, Syracuse has a couple of wild cards looking to fill Edwards’ shoes at center. The most likely solution is Florida State transfer Naheem McLeod, who has been a backup with the Seminoles over the last two seasons.
McLeod averaged less than four points and three rebounds in about 13 minutes per game last year, but his size is enticing. At 7’4 255 pounds, the center has all the physical tools you could ever want.
Then, there’s Mounir Hima, who, like McLeod, was a backup in the ACC last year. Hima showed plenty of athleticism in his first season with the Orange serving as Edwards’ understudy, averaging a block per game in just over seven minutes per contest. However, he scored just 27 total points in 27 games.
There’s always the potential of using Maliq Brown at center as well, but the fact that he’s only 6’8 means it probably wouldn’t be more than a situational small ball role.
The point being: Syracuse loses a lot with Edwards’ departure. While a reunion was never realistically going to happen, the door is now officially shut for good.