There is a ton of uncertainty surrounding the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball program after the sudden retirement of longtime head coach Jim Boeheim. This unfortunately has carried over to the players on the team, and star center Jesse Edwards cited this as a reason for his transfer decision on Sunday.
Edwards was perhaps the most impactful player for the Orange last season, averaging 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals last season. This was enough to earn him honors for both the All-ACC Third Team and the All-ACC Defensive Team this past season.
Unfortunately for Syracuse Orange fans, the instability around the program at the moment led to the star center entering his name in the transfer portal.
He told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony on Sunday that he will be transferring to West Virginia to play for another legendary coach in Bob Huggins.
Edwards told Givony that he is very eager to get to learn from another storied coach, calling it a “huge honor”.
“It is a huge honor to be able to learn from and get to know not one but two legendary coaches,” said Edwards. “I’ll take their knowledge about the game and life with me for the rest of my life.”
One bonus that Edwards will get by joining West Virginia is increased opportunities in terms of potential NIL deals, which is something that he stated was not the case at Syracuse.
“I mostly wanted to have a fresh start and a new challenge,” Edwards said. “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.”
Jim Boeheim was always very critical of NIL deals in collegiate sports. If Edwards’ comments are any indication, it may be more of a program issue that could limit their ability to land and keep big-name players moving forward.
Edwards’ departure is not the only huge loss for the program this offseason. Senior guard Joe Girard is also in the transfer portal and reportedly has 18 schools interested in him.