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?
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.
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.”
KSR has learned that Kentucky is still actively recruiting Evansville’s Deandre Williams and hopes to bring him in along with Olivier Sarr
There are hopes that a commitment could come relatively soon
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) May 8, 2020
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.