West Virginia senior Jesse Edwards values life lessons, fan support during his tumultuous season in Morgantown

Edwards has positive outlook on his experience with the WVU basketball program.

Jesse Edwards takes the floor at the WVU Coliseum on Senior Night.
Jesse Edwards takes the floor at the WVU Coliseum on Senior Night. / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

There are some folks who might question the decisions that West Virginia senior Jesse Edwards made over the past year. But Edwards himself is not one of those people.

After a breakout 2022-2023 season at Syracuse where Edwards averaged 14.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, Edwards decided to use his final year of NCAA eligibility in Morgantown. 

When the former WVU Head Coach Bob Huggins, who had recruited Edwards to play for the Mountaineers, left the program following controversy, it would have been easy for Edwards to follow him out the door. But Edwards decided to honor his commitment and stick it out under Interim Head Coach Josh Eilert.

From there, Edwards’ lone season with the team has been a roller coaster, with the team facing numerous personnel changes due to injuries and eligibility issues and Edwards suffering a wrist injury that sidelined him for a month mid-season.

One could understand if Edwards had a sour view on his time with the program over the past year, but reality is far different from that scenario. You could catch Edwards smiling after a career-high 36-point performance during a loss to TCU on Senior Night as he reflected on his time in Morgantown.

“To be honest, it was still one of the best years of my life,” Edwards said during the post-game press conference. “Regardless of everything that happened, you know, it was one of the craziest seasons I’ve ever had in my life…but I’ve got great memories from Morgantown.” 

While he’s up front with the fact that things have not gone the way he had hoped on the court for the Mountaineers this season -- after the defeat to TCU on Wednesday, WVU sits 9-21 overall -- he said the type of season the program faced has still left him with a wealth of knowledge that he’ll carry with him during his future endeavors. 

“It’s been crazy, but it's that -- all those adversities, you know, I've never learned as much,” Edwards said.

"“It’s been crazy, but it's that -- all those adversities, you know, I've never learned as much"

Jesse Edwards

He acknowledges that there are certain parts of the sport and certain life lessons you learn on a struggling team that you might not be exposed to in a program seeing more success.  

“Whether it's about playing the game, coaching the game, everything around it, what makes a team tick, what doesn’t make a team tick,” Edwards said. “That’s something you don’t pick up when you’re on a team that’s cruising, because you’re really thinking about basketball, basketball, and that’s such a great thing. But a year like this gives you life experience which you’d never get in other ways.”

He also was quick to point out that while this year was a learning experience, it was a difficult one which was made easier by the incredible support of the Mountaineer fan base during both the ups and downs this season.

What’s more amazing is the fact that all these fans, every night for us, you know, filled the seats, filled the stadium,” Edwards said. “If we lost a big game before or won a big game before, it doesn’t matter. They’d be there, and to have that kind of pulls you through a season like this.”

Edwards, who has averaged 14.3 points and 8.2 rebounds during the healthy portion of his tenure with WVU, was praised by Eilert following the loss, who is impressed with Edwards' response to this season's adversity.

"Jesse was special. I've been challenging him each and every day," Eilert said following the TCU game.