Syracuse sophomore center Jesse Edwards helps fill big void

When Syracuse center Bourama Sidibe was hurt just four minutes in to the season and also the novel coronavirus was wreaking havoc using the team, the Orange were inside a bad place.

The 6-feet-10, 220-pound Sidibe, who excelled in the finish of last season and figured to become an essential bit of 2010 team, has yet to come back after surgery for any torn meniscus. His presence has surely been missed, with forward Marek Dolezaj manning the center in most cases overmatched physically.

“When we lost our center, we didn’t possess a (backup) center,” coach Jim Boeheim stated. “When you lose somebody and you’ve got somebody, it eases the discomfort a bit.”

Now, sophomore center Jesse Edwards is poised to get that a person following a standout performance against Miami on Tuesday night.

With Syracuse trailing 11-2 in the beginning from the Hurricanes, the 7-footer in the Netherlands was placed when Dolezaj selected up two early fouls. After playing just eight minutes and never scoring or collecting a rebound in losses at New York and Pitt, Edwards scored seven points, snared six rebounds, and registered a block and 2 steals in 23 minutes to assist the Orange for an 83-57 victory.

For any team which has battled to protect the paint, Edwards’ looming presence – his arms when outstretched extend 7 ft, 4 inches – helped stymie the Hurricanes inside.

“With Marek getting into foul trouble, Jesse was monstrous for all of us. I simply thought he would be a presence available,” Boeheim stated. “His size helped. He demonstrated lots of promise. It had been undoubtedly the very best that he’s performed here. We’ll see what we should can get free from him. He’s essential for us.”

For Edwards, who before Tuesday night had performed only twenty minutes in six games, looking to get in game shape throughout the pandemic is a big hurdle to beat. He’s improved his stamina by running for 30-40 minutes used to simulate game length underneath the direction of assistant coach Allen Griffin.

“I think it is a really big part,” Edwards, whose weight can be around 220 pounds, stated Thursday after practice. “I’ve been building on my small body, obtaining a little heavier, just a little more powerful. My skills, Personally i think like they have had the experience for some time. I believe the important and also the conditioning really provided the chance to exhibit that.”

Syracuse was coming off a disheartening loss last Saturday against improving Pitt. Leading 37-32 at halftime, the Orange were trounced within the other half, allowing 64 points, and lost by 20 (96-76). Against Miami, Edwards and newcomer guard Khadary Richmond (seven points, eight assists, and five steals in twenty minutes), sparked a remarkable comeback. The Orange brought by 14 at halftime and cruised.

“I’m understanding how to use my length,” Edwards stated.

Boeheim figures his Orange (8-4, 2-3 Chesapeake Bay Conference) have forfeit a minimum of 30 practices due to the pandemic, that has afflicted the beginning backcourt of junior Buddy Boeheim and sophomore Joe Girard. Both were sick with COVID-19 as well as their offensive production has endured.

A deft shooter from outdoors, Buddy Boeheim, who missed three from the first four games of year during quarantine, is shooting just 29.4% from lengthy range, though he leads the ACC in turnover ratio (2.82), just in front of Richmond (2.59) in second. Girard has already established several subpar performances – most lately within the consecutive road losses against UNC and Pitt, scoring just eight points within the two games – and it is making just 34.4% of his shots.

“It requires a while to obtain away from that,” coach Boeheim stated. “There’s no doubt.”

Both got back in line against Miami with nearly identical performances, each scoring a season-high 23 points.

“Buddy and that i both don’t like making excuses,” stated Girard, who’s shooting 36.3% from deep, his 29 3-pointers tied with Alan Griffin for that team lead. “Obviously, we’re feeling better in the future.”