For the second consecutive offseason, Syracuse men‚Äôs hoops has now been surprised by one of its own heading to the transfer portal. Today, sophomore center Frank Anselem entered the portal, marking a possible fresh start elsewhere for the backup big man.
Anselem‚Äôs decision didn‚Äôt quite register the shock value that Kadary Richmond and Quincy Guerrier‚Äôs decisions to leave the program did last Spring, but if Anselem doesn‚Äôt come back, SU is losing perhaps its best bench option for the 2022-23 season.¬†
Anselem, who stands at 6‚Äô10‚Äù and 215 pounds, played in all but one of Syracuse‚Äôs 33 games this past season. After injuries cost graduate center Bourama Sidibe most of his final year in Orange and Jesse Edwards the final nine games of the season, Anselem stepped up to start six of SU‚Äôs final nine games. His first start of the year was perhaps his best, with a 15-rebound performance in a 71-59 loss at Virginia Tech back on February 12th. On the year, Anselem played 14.2 minutes per game and averaged 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 points per game. If he chooses to leave Syracuse, Anselem has three years of eligibility remaining.
Assuming Anselem leaves, there will certainly be implications for Syracuse‚Äôs roster. With Jesse Edwards all but assured to start most of the team‚Äôs games next year at center, redshirt-junior John Bol Ajak is now the de facto backup at the five, followed by incoming freshmen Peter Carey (6‚Äô11‚Äù, 190 lbs) and Maliq Brown (6‚Äô9‚Äù, 210 lbs) on the depth chart (not accounting for transfer additions). Ajak has played just 112 combined minutes across two seasons and entered the transfer portal in 2021, but eventually returned to Syracuse. An increase in potential playing time may likely entice him to stay.
On the bench, head coach Jim Boeheim‚Äôs ‚Äúsixth man‚Äù is now sophomore forward Benny Williams or an incoming freshman, unless one of SU‚Äôs Class of ‚Äò22 guards unexpectedly starts games instead of senior Symir Torrence and pushes the latter back to the bench. Williams struggled on both sides of the ball last year across 29 appearances, but an extra year of experience under his belt could lead to spot starts and increased minutes.¬†
Per recently introduced NCAA rules, Anselem would not have to sit out a year at a new school if he chooses to leave Syracuse.