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John Calipari ramps up contact with 2020 four-star center Frank Anselem

Photo: 247Sports

Photo: 247Sports

Kentucky head coach John Calipari likes what he sees out of 2020 four-star center Frank Anselem.

After gauging interest initially a few weeks back, contact between the Kentucky coaching staff and Anselem – a 6-foot-10, 210-pound center out of Suwanee, GA – has picked up exponentially, specifically following Purdue graduate transfer Matt Haarms’ commitment to BYU.

And then on Sunday night, Calipari reportedly stepped in to express his interest in Anselem face-to-face, albeit virtually.

According to Chris Fisher of 247Sports, Calipari conducted a Zoom video conference with the nation’s No. 85 overall player and No. 15 center in the senior class Sunday evening.

In an interview with Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader, Anselem’s AAU coach, Julius Smith of the Georgia Stars said the UK coaching staff spent last weekend watching the four-star forward’s film and came away feeling he has NBA potential.

“They watched film of him all weekend as a staff, and they liked him a lot,” Smith told the Herald-Leader. “They like the things that he can do, in terms of next year’s roster and how he can help. They think he’s a pro, like the other schools recruiting him.”

The pro potential is there, but it may take a few years to get to that point, as Smith said he may need as many as two or three years in college before making the jump to the NBA.

“Frank probably needs two years, maybe three, in college, Smith said. “He’s a great kid. Incredibly athletic. Really advanced defensively. More raw offensively.”

Anselem, who moved to the United States from Nigeria back in 2016, has only played basketball for five years. Originally a member of the 2021 class, the 6-foot-10 center announced his reclassification to 2020 back on April 14.

Long seen as a heavy LSU lean, Anselem initially cut his list to three – Alabama, Georgia and LSU – at the time of his reclassification before announcing his recruitment was once again “wide open” just hours after 7-foot center Josh Gray committed to LSU on April 18.

“In light of recent developments, my recruitment is now wide open as I take the time to evaluate the best fit for me both on the court and academically next season,” Anselem said via Twitter. “Thank you to everyone for your interest. Please stay safe and always keep the family close.”

Now, it appears things are ramping up with Kentucky as the UK coaching staff looks to close out the 2020-21 roster with a few final key pieces.

So what do you need to know about the four-star center’s game? 247Sports’ official scouting report of Anselem lists him as a high-upside defensive force with legitimate pro potential.

“Athletic center with outstanding frame,” recruiting analyst Josh Gershon says in the report. “Good size, wide shoulders and very long arms. Strong kid but not maxed out. Still raw on offense but physical tools give him very high upside. Has budding elbow jumper and hook shot but footwork and post moves can improve. Has chance to be high level rebounder and rim protector given size, length and athleticism. Still inconsistent but upside is very high. Projects as high major starter with professional upside dependent on development of skill.”

See for yourself with some of Anselem’s recent highlights below:

Would fans be interested in Anselem joining Kentucky’s top-ranked recruiting class?

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

23 Comments for John Calipari ramps up contact with 2020 four-star center Frank Anselem

  1. BigBluSoTru
    12:39 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    The missing piece for #9 we need this next level pro. Cal just saying he needs 2 years they know this kid is a one and done type. Game is like PP he’s the real deal . Next level skill set highly advanced from overseas those kids already are a step ahead of American kids. Bring him home Cal. Welcome home to the BBN Frank we love you baby.

    • JASUN74
      3:48 pm April 28, 2020 Permalink

      Let it go and get over yourself Blu. You’re becoming one of the worst posters on here to be honest with you. The sarcasm is getting worse by the day.

      There’s nothing in the world wrong with this kid! He’s got size and has a lot of natural talent. Who cares if it may take him awhile to work on his game. Isn’t that what College is supposed to be? Drop the fake character and try to be a real person, who knows, you may be enough for people. Have a good one my brother! Go Cats

  2. Park
    1:13 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    I would be interested in a 5 foot guy with a 6 foot broom for the frontcourt at this point. We need bodies in the frontcourt. Even if we play true smallball we still need fouls to give. Foul trouble, injuries, sickness, etc… we just don’t have the bodies in the frontcourt.

  3. chardun20
    1:57 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    Either Anselem has really long arms or he’s taller than 6’10”, he barely jumps when he dunks. He looks like a kid that could be really good in a couple years.

  4. CahillsCrossingNT
    5:06 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    Even if he comes here he’ll be here one year more than likely whether he’s ready enough or good enough or not. In order to get back to the Final Four or anything close to that, they first need to beat rebuilding Tennessee teams.

    • Bluehender
      6:43 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

      Get back from the ledge…

    • 4everUKBlue
      7:54 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

      Bluehender stop encouraging him to not jump.

  5. Headhurts
    6:43 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    Great around the rim, need to see a jump shot.

  6. mothandras
    7:53 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    if we are going after this guy.. we are screwed.. see you in 2021.

  7. 2andToodleLoo
    8:06 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    His experience makes him more like Nick Richards. May not take off quickly. Probably needs several years in UK program. Wouldn’t expect him to contribute as a freshman. Lower expectations and hope for the best.

    • BowdenQB4ever
      8:54 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

      You need to go back and listen to Cal’s introductory press conference. We were going to become a players first program and in turn we’d see the best of the best talent suit up in blue every year. Wtf are we doing recruiting fringe 4 stars who are years away from contributing? Really looking forward to seeing this kid drafted on potential next spring while we scrape the 4* bucket for
      another 6 month stop gap fix.

  8. BlueByYou
    8:51 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    On the flip side, everyone always bitches about not having multi-year players. Guys like like this and a few others we have fit the bill. Gotta start sometime!

    • bigblue98
      8:58 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

      Your comment makes way too much sense – it will be rejected by most here.

  9. IrishCat
    8:58 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    He definitely looks like a guy we could use in the program, but it is frustrating b/c we need a big who is ready to play.

    It sounds weird, but our top recruiting priority moving forward needs to be identifying good college players who are okay with being in school if they aren’t drafted. We have no problem w/ talent at the top end.

  10. UKFanSC
    9:00 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

    The big loss was EJ Montgomery. That was the guy we needed to come back. He was just coming into his own. You surround him with these freshmen and Keon and you have a serious Final Four shot.

    • IrishCat
      9:43 am April 28, 2020 Permalink


    • Ez21
      10:02 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah he’s such a loss. Gimme a break. The dude has no motor and wants to be a 18 foot jump shooter. Would he have helped, yes but don’t act like he’s some savior.

    • UKFanSC
      11:33 am April 28, 2020 Permalink

      Not a savior, but a 12-7 inside presence who blocks shots and can actually guard someone over 6’7”…….3 year vet, former 5 star AA who was rated above Zion for a time in HS. His last 10 games were beginning to show glimpses of a draftable talent. He was getting better, and with an entire summer to work on his game could have been a difference maker.

    • IrishCat
      12:31 pm April 28, 2020 Permalink

      Hudssle plays, loose balls, game winning tips. Guys like that are needed along w/ some top flight talent, and can absolutely end up being pros. Plenty of examples in our own recent history. It’s almost like Ez hasn’t watched much basketball…

    • Ez21
      8:59 am April 29, 2020 Permalink

      Trust me I know a lot more about basketball than you. You saw 1 game winning tip in and now your infatuated by EJ Montgomery. Recency bias. He wasn’t going to be Nick or PJ if he did return. He would’ve been a role player that was only good to have because he was a big body. Nick has the talent and motor he just hadn’t played long enough. EJ has played his whole life and did that other dude really bring up the fact that he was ranked above Zion? Omg! Yeah he’s close to the same level. Smh

    • Ez21
      8:56 am April 29, 2020 Permalink

      That’s what was said last year.

  11. T-Town Cat
    12:25 pm April 28, 2020 Permalink

    We read a lot about what Stoops and his staff are doing with the players on the coming season’s team. Does aunt one know if Cal is doing the same? FaceTiming, checking on conditioning/ weigh lifting, skill development, “homework”, etc.

  12. Swizzle
    11:44 pm April 28, 2020 Permalink

    If he comes here I’m sure he’ll declare for the draft by February.