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Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Frank Anselem out, DeAndre Williams in?

Evansville Athletics

Evansville Athletics

The Kentucky basketball program may have just landed the top transfer prospect of the offseason in Wake Forest center Olivier Sarr, but that’s not stopping the coaching staff from adding one final piece to close out the 2020-21 roster.

But who are they looking to add in the near future? Where have things gone in the time following Sarr’s commitment?

Frank Anselem

As Cats Illustrated insiders and Sources Say Podcast co-hosts David Sisk and Travis Graf reported Thursday evening, KSR can confirm that 2020 four-star center Frank Anselem is no longer leaning toward Kentucky, with both sides expected to go their separate ways.

Kentucky has been the heavy leader for two solid weeks dating back to the school’s initial contact and would have been the choice without Olivier Sarr’s commitment. Even with him, there was a scenario that could have led Anselem to Lexington, with the opportunity to play spot minutes off the bench still being an avenue they’d explore. When it became apparent from Kentucky’s side of things that redshirting was the likeliest scenario for him, though, Anselem and his camp ultimately decided the fit wouldn’t work.

“Frank thinks he’s a one-and-done. Absolutely,” one individual familiar with the situation told KSR. “He’s not taking a back seat to anyone. … It’s a good breakup. Great kid, bad fit for UK.”

The situation was ideal on Kentucky’s end from the start, as the UK staff felt a pairing of Sarr and Anselem was a solid and preferable match. You get an immediate-impact center in Sarr to anchor the frontcourt next season while adding a high-potential big with low immediate expectations to develop slowly under Kenny Payne in Anselem. As late as Tuesday, the UK staff felt Sarr and Anselem were both expected to sign with Kentucky.

After recent discussions between both parties, though, the UK coaching staff has now turned its attention elsewhere, while Anselem is focused on signing with a school he would receive immediate playing time.

Who might Kentucky add elsewhere? That answer may already be in the works.

DeAndre Williams

After talking to DeAndre Williams’ mentor and coach, Kenny Roy, last week, he said the expectation is that the Evansville transfer will make his decision this week at some point.

On Thursday afternoon, Roy followed up with KSR to confirm that Williams will be making his announcement on “Sunday or Monday,” meaning we are no more than four days away from a final decision.

Despite Sarr’s commitment to Kentucky on Wednesday, Roy told KSR that Williams is “ABSOLUTELY”  still interested in the Wildcats and that both parties remain in regular contact leading up to his announcement.

Not long after, KSR’s own Matt Jones broke the news that Kentucky is “still actively recruiting” Williams and that there is optimism within the program that “a commitment could come relatively soon.”

Williams’ camp has gone out of their way to tip their hand on potential favorites, but other individuals in recruiting circles feel Kentucky is picking up significant momentum. Baylor remains as a darkhorse in the home stretch of his recruitment, but the Wildcats have emerged as the favorite heading into the weekend.

I’m set to speak with Roy again Friday morning to get the latest regarding Kentucky’s most recent conversations with the versatile forward, so stay tuned for the latest right here on KSR.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

14 Comments for Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Frank Anselem out, DeAndre Williams in?

  1. JASUN74
    3:15 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

    I wanted Williams before any of them. Lol. Well, at least the very second I heard we were talking to him. The guy is a warrior and I don’t believe the country has seen him when he’s fully healthy and in Kentucky shape. ( there is a difference in Ky shape and every other schools shape you know). Haha, Honestly though, sittin out a year or not, I truly believe this kid is a Lottery Pick if he can get on a team with some talent around him to showcase his skills. He’s just a perfect fit for UK I think and could really become a star here. Thanks. Go Cats!

    Ohh about Frank, I would love to have this kid as well, but I’m afraid someone in his circles may be giving him some wrong advice. He’s at minimum a two year player, so why not learn under Cal, Kenny and the Kentucky staff while also having a chance to play with other great players to practice with and get better.

    I wish all these young men the very best of luck, except when they’re playing against us of course, I really do hope they all can become good enough to make money and live out their dreams! Sad thing is though, there’s just not enough spots in the NBA for everyone, so some great players are left out. The 100% fact about it is, if you get the opportunity to play at Kentucky, you take that spot right then and there. Lol.

  2. Cokely53
    5:59 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

    In just the article before this Anselem knew he wasn’t a one and done and now he believes he is? That was a quick change. Also, if Williams becomes immediately illegible, is he pushing Brooks for the starting 4 spot? Kinda surprised his dad would be excited to land his sons possible replacement if that’s the case.

    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      9:34 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

      Exactly, I don’t know what to believe. oh well…

    • Jack Pilgrim
      11:37 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

      I was told by people close to Anselem’s high school that he’s a little overconfident about his abilities. Those close to him know he’s not a one-and-done, but he thinks he still could be personally. That’s the issue across the board.

      And I think there’s a scenario that both Brooks and Williams are on the floor together, especially late in the season. Calipari is interested in Clarke running some point guard, which could lead to a Clarke-Boston-Brooks-Williams-Sarr lineup at times. This would likely hurt Lance Ware’s playing time, but Brooks will get his opportunities.

    • Cokely53
      12:16 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      Thanks for the insight jack. Wasn’t trying to call your writing out. Was more or less asking why the change. And I like the sounds of that second line up a lot. Would be extremely dangerous

    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      2:26 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      Jack, how do the possible reclassifications of Kuminga and Cisse play into this scenario? Hard to imagine us getting either one unless Sarr and Williams are both told they have to sit….

  3. UKFanSC
    6:31 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

    One and done ?? Frank, you sure ?

    • Gogh Big Bleu
      9:17 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

      To his credit, he didn’t say where he plans to go after he is done, lol

  4. 2andToodleLoo
    8:06 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Glad to see UK let Frank walk. We don’t need anymore obvious multi-year guys believing they’re one and dones.

  5. Lyle Evans
    12:29 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    We have some experience with players whose self-evaluation is a little higher than, say, the experts. Is it time for us to subdivide the OAD into (a) one-and-NBA and (b) one-and-delusional?

  6. UKLugo
    1:41 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Havent seen much of Anselem, but I thought from the start that he was probably a transfer waiting to happen if he ended up at UK.
    Getting Williams would give this team such a vast amount of versatility. He can spread the floor in more ways than one and could allow Jackson to chip in at the 5 a little more.
    The question will remain, will the NCAA grant UK TWO eligibility waivers in the same year? I dunnooo.

  7. WILDCATS1968
    1:48 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    But But but, I thought Sisk and Graff said UK would NOT land Williams ? Just as I told people on another site, When Cal wants a recruitment silent, it stays that way. Sisk and Graff do not know, because Cal has not let them know. Williams is a strong UK possibility and has been every since UK reached out. It is why UK landed in his top without even publicly saying they have spoke to him and shown interest.. Doesn’t take an insider to know that, just common sense.

    • lugotrio
      3:11 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      Exactly….this is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they said on the Sources Say Podcast…great work guys!

  8. Aar
    5:08 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    I think we in BBN need to accept that UK now runs a one to two year basketball program. Due to different development timelines, it looks like that means young backcourts and transfer frontcourts for the time being. The path to young frontcourts would be for Cal to have bigs play outside the paint. That is not winning college basketball (at least not yet) and it is not the best long-term development path for bigs. There is only so long the NBA will employ tall slow kids who only have wing skills.