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Syracuse men’s basketball preseason player profiles: Jesse Edwards

The big man from the Netherlands looks to become more physical in year two.

Syracuse v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

For those just joining us in regards to preseason hoops content, today we continue along with our individual player profiles with sophomore center Jesse Edwards. Previous profiles include: Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard and Kadary Richmond.

Over the weekend it was announced that Syracuse Orange men’s basketball head coach Jim Boeheim would exit quarantine on Friday, Nov. 20. With that, the basketball team will keep its season-opener with Bryant intact this Friday.

As such, we continue to move along with our preseason player profiles with Jesse Edwards. As a freshman in 2019-20, Edwards played in 21 games and showed potential, albeit in limited action. He struggled with the physicality at the ACC level which is normal for most freshmen. His focus last year was adding weight to his frame.

Edwards has shown skill on the offensive end where he’s smooth in the paint and has shown signs of having a nice touch. He’ll have to be stronger and improve defensively to earn minutes this season.

He got a late start compared to most of his teammates who showed up at SU for the early summer session. Edwards didn’t arrive back in the U.S. until August due to visa and travel restrictions vis-à-vis COVID-19. When he arrived back at Syracuse he had to quarantine for 14 days.

In the practices leading up to the shutdown, Boeheim has said that Bourama Sidibe is the dominant player amongst the center group, but that Edwards and incoming freshman big Frank Anselem have worked hard. Still, the view on the backup center position is opaque at this time without real-time game action to accurately judge.

“Frank and Jesse have worked hard. I think they’ve showed some things they can do, but you really have to wait until game situations really, probably until the league before you really have a good understanding of what they can do,” Boeheim said.

Virginia Tech v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Position: Center

Class: Sophomore

Vitals: 6-foot-11, 215 lbs.

Background: Originally from Amsterdam, Netherlands. Edwards played one season of high school basketball at IMG Academy before enrolling at Syracuse. Older brother, Kai, played four years at Northern Colorado. As a senior last season he averaged 9.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

2019-20 Stats: 2.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.5 block per game. Shot 79.2% (!) from the floor and 63.2% from the free throw line.

Strengths/Weaknesses: Edwards is a talented offensive big man who gets up and down the floor with grace. He’s got a soft touch around the rim and has the potential to be a solid rebounder and shot-blocker. With his mobility he should be able to get to the high-post from the center position within the 2-3 zone and stretch to the corners. He’ll have to be stronger in paint (and with the ball) to compete this season.

Ceiling: Edwards makes strides with his physicality at the center position in the 2-3 zone. He becomes a formidable backup to senior center Sidibe while showcasing his mobility. The offense he provides from the center spot is a bonus for Syracuse.

Floor: Edwards doesn’t improve physically and Boeheim elects to play Marek Dolezaj or Anselem as the backup center. Still, he shows potential on the offensive end which gives the belief he can have impact minutes as a junior, particularly if Dolezaj and Sidibe forego the opportunity to play an additional year at SU.


If you’re interested in listening to Edwards speak Dutch, check the video below.

For Syracuse basketball updates, follow James and Nunes on twitter @JamesSzuba and @NunesMagician