Former Syracuse Orange men’s basketball center Jesse Edwards has transferred to West Virginia, according to ESPN. The news comes just five days after the 6-foot-11 Netherlands center decided to enter the transfer portal. After receiving interest from multiple programs, Edwards trimmed his suitors to West Virginia, Kansas and Gonzaga before visiting Morgantown over the weekend.
Edwards didn’t have a set decision date prior to the weekend, according to those familiar with the matter.
“I mostly wanted to have a fresh start and a new challenge,” Edwards told ESPN. “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.”
Edwards’ ability to earn NIL money was made complicated by his visa status. Ultimately, what Syracuse was unwilling or unable to do to keep him encouraged a transfer. The news coincides with Adam Weitsman’s decision to withdraw from providing monetary support to Syracuse Athletics as SU searches for ways to be competitive in NIL with multiple collectives.
The Orange return a pair of 6-foot-11 centers in Mounir Hima and Peter Carey while also bringing in 7-foot-2 freshman Will Patterson. Syracuse has expressed interest in Oklahoma State transfer Moussa Cisse and North Texas transfer Abou Ousmane.
Edwards averaged a double-double this past season at Syracuse with 14.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game while being named to All-ACC Third Team and All-ACC Defensive Team. His 2.7 blocks ranked sixth nationally. Edwards finished 12th all-time at Syracuse in blocked shots with 172. He was the final upperclassman of Syracuse players who elected to transfer following the end of the Jim Boeheim era.
“It was the mental side that I really learned a lot from coach [Boeheim],” Edwards said after his final game at Syracuse. “Especially to just keep going, whatever happens. Whenever it’s hard, whenever you go through something, just keep going. Keep practicing and one day you will get your chance if you do your job and then seize it.”