What Does Transfer Big Commit Jesse Edwards Bring to West Virginia?
Syracuse transfer big man Jesse Edwards announced on Sunday afternoon that he will be committing to play his final season at West Virginia, he told NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony. Edwards was regarded as one of the best players available in the transfer portal. What can the All-ACC recipient bring to WVU?
Edwards increased all of his numbers during his four years at Syracuse. During his last two seasons, Edwards improved his offensive game tremendously. Edwards went from averaging 1.9 points per game to 14.5 in two years. In his senior campaign, Edwards shot 59 percent from the field, taking all of his shot attempts in the paint. Edwards had multiple 27-point game performances during his final month at Syracuse.
The transfer addition gives West Virginia a true scoring big down low. Tre Mitchell returns but can stretch the floor out to where he’s not always needed in the paint. WVU was 146th in the country in two-point field goals, making 18.6 per game. Edwards should help significantly with that number.
Right away everyone looks at Edwards’ 2.7 blocks per game during his senior year. And how can you not? Edwards was sixth in the country in blocked shots and blocks per game. Edwards recorded nine games at Syracuse with five or more blocks in a game.
WVU sophomore big James Okonkwo led the Mountaineers this past season in blocks with 21. Edwards had 87. The Netherlands native will impact games just by his build. Edwards is 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan. If Edwards can build more muscle and be careful with his foul trouble, he’ll be even harder to beat in the paint.
This is the category that Bob Huggins will probably be most excited about in Edwards’ game. For the past two seasons, Huggins has not had his usual good rebounding teams. In 2021-22, West Virginia was 312th in the country in rebounding, while the team improved a little to 240th last season.
Edwards averaged 10.3 rebounds per game last season, recording 16 games with double figures in the category. Edwards had two games with 20 or more rebounds.
The commitment from Edwards can take West Virginia to the next level that they need to take from last season. A trip back to the NCAA Tournament built around transfer portal pieces was a good start but getting Edwards, along with Kerr Kriisa from Arizona, can be the next step the staff needed to take in the last couple of weeks.