By LARRY VAUGHT
He might be raw offensively, but he can run the court as fast as most guards, has explosive jumping ability, and can use his 7-5 wingspan and quickness to guard almost any position.
Not only that but he also knows two incoming Kentucky freshmen — Brandon “BJ” Boston and Terrence Clarke — very well.
Could 6-9 Frank Anselem be the perfect fit for Kentucky and the need the Wildcats have for another big for its 2020-21 roster?
“Frank loves playing for winners and has always been around talented players,” said Julius Smith, Anselem’s former AAU coach and recruiting advisor. “He has experience playing with high level talent and dealing with egos. Playing in a high stress environment does not bother him. He just wants to go to a coaching staff that will develop him.”
Anselem, a one-time LSU commit, is ranked as the nation’s 85th best player in the 2020 class according to 247Sports after recently reclassifying from the 2021 class. He played for two years in Georgia before spending last season in California playing for Prolific Prep — which had two of the nation’s top 25 players in Jalen Green and Nimari Burnett. Prolific Prep won the Grind Session national championship.
Anselem has a ton of college offers and has had for some time. Once he recommitted from LSU, Alabama and Georgia were considered the frontrunners. Kentucky had expressed interest in late January, early February and UK guard Ashton Hagans’ AAU coach had noted to John Calipari how well Anselem would fit in UK’s system.
“There was just slight interest then but the day he announced he was re-opening his recruitment the attention really started from UK that day,” Smith said.
It intensified after UK realized it was not going to get 7-3 Purdue graduate transfer Matt Haarms.
“I think he would be a great fit at UK and would have a huge opportunity to play,” Smith said. “The only two bigs they have are (incoming freshmen) Lance (Ware) and Isaiah (Jackson). They are both great but he does things they don’t do just like they do things he doesn’t. John Calipari is able to fit guys in the right places and Frank fits how he likes to play and he knows how to use guys like Frank defensively.”
Smith isn’t sure what Anselem’s timetable for a college choice or even narrowing his list of possible schools will be in part because building relationships with coaches now is more difficult because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“He had been committed to LSU for a few months and now he’s having to face the reality that he may commit to a school that he never visited or the staff has not recruited him all year,” Smith said. “It’s tough now navigating everything and it has really hurt relationship building.
“I don’t know if there will be a timetable for when he is ready to commit. You can’t drag it on forever. Schools have to move on, too, and try to figure thins out. But I know the Kentucky staff has been very patient and has not pressured him for a decision. Relationships are important to the Kentucky coaches, too.”