Syracuse fans were clamoring for Jim Boeheim to recruit a big man, and after missing on dozens of centers, Boeheim finally delivered. Frank Anselem announced his commitment to SU on June 3, making him the third commit in the class of 2020 after Kadary Richmond and Woody Newton. Here are my thoughts on the newest Orange hooper (and the videos I used to evaluate him).
Anselem is a 6-foot-11, 220 pound center originally from Lagos, Nigeria. He came to the U.S. three years ago, spending two of those in Suwanee, GA, then shipping out to California, where he played at Prolific Prep with high caliber talents Jalen Green (top-ranked player in the class of 2020) and Nimari Burnett (four-star recruit committed to Texas Tech). Anselem was the 85th-best prospect in the 2021 class, and LSU had his initial pledge. However, he decided to reclassify to the class of 2020, and reopened his recruitment. 247Sports now ranks him as a three-star player, the 184th best in the country with a composite score of .8995. Anselem chose Syracuse over Georgia, San Diego State, and New Mexico.
The first thing you notice when watching Anselem’s highlights are the dunks and the wingspan. Anything Anselem catches down low he is looking to stuff through the rim. When was the last time a Syracuse center put someone on a poster? He sometimes has to stop himself from hitting his head on the rim. Anselem is a better athlete than any of SU’s current centers. He has very good vision as well. His head is always up in the post, and he is looking for cutting teammates. His post offense is developing. Unfortunately, Anselem barely saw the ball at Prolific Prep, as Green and Burnett spent most of the time scoring. An extra high school season would’ve helped in that regard.
Anselem needs to work on his physicality and effort level. Anselem is too far away from the cup when he catches post entries, sometimes almost near the three-point line. With no face-up game or jumper, this is not the spot where a young center should be catching the ball. Anselem’s lack of physicality also shows up when he is setting screens. He establishes position too early, and doesn’t look for contact, instead just acting like a roadblock for an opponent to run around. His motor shuts off randomly as well. Here he should be looking for an alley-oop or putback dunk instead of watching at the free throw line.
Anselem’s length shines through on the defensive end, where he is a fly swatter around the rim, and a nuisance in passing lanes and in pick and roll coverage. His presence is enough to deter opponents from driving to the rim. However, his developing basketball IQ shows up on the defensive end. He sometimes over helps on pick and rolls instead of sticking with his man in traffic. In this situation, guarding a shorter player in the corner, Anselem should use his length and positioning to trap his matchup using the baseline as an extra defender. Instead, Anselem turns towards the baseline, letting the guard get to his stronger right hand and beat him towards the rim. He also could stand to work on his lateral quickness (and staying on his feet).
Anselem is a very good rebounder on both ends of the floor. His slight frame allows him to slink around defenders to snag boards, and he’s always looking for position, even on the offensive end. He can tap balls away from opponents even without position because of his long arms. Rebounding is Anselem’s strength, and something Syracuse desperately needs.
Anselem is raw. And I mean like fresh from the butcher raw. There is still a ton that Anselem needs to learn about the game of basketball, let alone growing into his body and adjusting to new concepts of the 2-3 zone. His effort level needs to increase as well. But Anselem’s potential is through the roof. His wingspan, leaping ability, and nose for the ball are what will help him play as a sophomore. Once he develops a true post-up game, and adds some mass onto his frame, he has the chance to be an all-ACC performer, and a game changer down low.