Kentucky is zeroing in on 2020 four-star center Frank Anselem.
After meeting with the Anselem – a 6-foot-10, 220-pound center out of Suwanee, GA – on a conference call Sunday evening, sources tell KSR that Kentucky coaches John Calipari and Joel Justus met with the four-star prospect and his coach on a Zoom video conference call again Tuesday evening.
David Sisk of Cats Illustrated and KSR’s Sources Say Podcast was the first to break the news late Tuesday evening.
Anselem, the No. 85 overall prospect and No. 15 center in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, is considered the top-ranked available frontcourt prospect expected to play college basketball. Makur Maker (No. 12) and Kai Sotto (No. 62) are the lone available big men ranked ahead of Anselem in the rankings, though both are expected to explore their professional options.
And as contact continues to pick up, momentum continues to shift toward Kentucky. Both Sisk and Dan McDonald – two highly-respected recruiting experts at Rivals.com- submitted FutureCasts in favor of the Wildcats after Tuesday’s video call.
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 week 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 potential is there, but it may take time to get to that point.
“Frank probably needs two years, maybe three, in college, Smith continued. “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.
After backing off a silent pledge from LSU, the four-star prospect has opened up his recruitment, with Kentucky sitting in solid shape to land his commitment in the not-so-distant future.
So what do fans need to know about the potential future Wildcat?
After speaking with individuals close to the Prolific Prep program, it’s clear that Anselem is a major project and would likely need anywhere from two to four years at Kentucky before becoming a serious threat on the floor in Lexington. While he has physical tools – great frame, phenomenal wingspan, and solid athleticism – he is extremely raw offensively and needs elite coaching to refine his footwork and post moves. Above all else, Anselem struggles with his hands, fumbling the ball with crisp passes down low and in transition. While he thrives catching the ball off the rim for putbacks and offensive rebounds, he simply isn’t there to be a difference-maker on the floor, at least initially.
As a freshman, Anselem would likely see minimal playing time, serving primarily as a clean-up specialist on offense and shot-blocker on defense, similar to what we saw from Nick Richards in his first years in Lexington. The staff, however, sees elite potential out of the 6-foot-10 center, believing they could mold him into a player like Richards down the road.
Securing a commitment from Anselem would also create flexibility for Kentucky to explore their options on the graduate transfer market and potentially the regular transfer market if the NCAA passes a one-time immediate eligibility waiver when voting takes place on May 20. Thus, they’d have two long-term, high-potential options in Anselem and Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin for depth, along with the opportunity to pick up an instant-impact player if the opportunity presents itself in the coming months.
@the2kfranky stock rising fast w/ schools across the country offering.#FrankAnselem 6’10 c/o ‘21 playing on the HS ???national big stage @ProlificPrep @thegrindsession keep an eye on em ? pic.twitter.com/XM0oMAiAaC
— Ballers Bridge (@BallersBridge) October 17, 2019
Would fans be interested in seeing Anselem in Lexington?