Out of the entire Syracuse Orange men's basketball roster this year, Jesse Edwards was by far the most improved player when looking at his Syracuse career before this season. Edwards increased his volume, efficiency, and defensive presence when given an increased opportunity on the floor with forward Marek Dolezaj leaving the Orange at the end of last season.
With Bourama Sidibe limited when the start of the regular season rolled around, Edwards seized the starting center spot to start the season
Edwards started off his season strong against Layfayette on Nov. 9th, collecting 11 points, two rebounds, one assist and three blocks on 4-4 shooting from the field in only 17 minutes of action. His efficient impactful play on both ends of the floor would only grow as the season went on.
For the remaining six games in November Edwards averaged 12.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 2.6 blocks while shooting 80% from the field (32-40) and 72% from the charity stripe (13-18) while playing an average of 28 minutes per game.
Edwards's numbers dipped a bit in December compared to his hot start the month before, but his rebounding improved. Over five games played he averaged 10.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1 steal, and 2.4 blocks while shooting 62% from the field (18/29) and 53% from the charity stripe (15-28) in 28.4 minutes per game.
Shortly after the turn of the new year, Edwards turned in his best performance of the season against the University of Miami. Edwards scored a season-high 22 points while collecting eight rebounds, two assists, seven blocks, and two steals, shooting 10-13 from the field and 2-3 from the charity stripe before fouling out after 38 minutes of play.
Edwards had a strong month of January while Syracuse as a team struggled to perform, finishing with a 3-6 record over nine games played. He averaged 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 3.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals while shooting 64.2% from the field (43-67).
However, after back-to-back wins against NC State and Louisville, Edwards fractured his wrist 13 minutes into the Feb 8th contest against Boston College, which ended the Netherlands-based big man's season.
After 24 games played during the 2021-22 season, Edwards averaged 12 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.04 assists, 2.8 blocks, and 1.1 steals while shooting 69.5% from the field and 59.8% from the charity stripe.
Expect Edwards to be one of the main offensive and defensive forces for the Orange next season. He has a nice touch around the rim, is a good rebounder, and terrific shot-blocker. He improved across the board this season, and the same could be expected next season with an even bigger role. In order for Edwards to make an even bigger impact for the Orange next season, he has to stay out of foul trouble. In Edwards 24 games played this year before his injury, he fouled out of 11 contests and finished eight contests with three or four personal fouls. If the Orange have any shot of having a strong season next year, Edwards needs to stay on the floor for a majority of Syracuse’s games while also expanding his offensive repertoire outside of the painted area to throw opposing defenses off.