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Syracuse basketball, with Frank Anselem gone, must beef up center depth

Syracuse basketball, Frank Anselem (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Frank Anselem (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball sophomore center Frank Anselem has elected to enter into the NCAA’s transfer portal, he said on social media, and I wish him nothing but the best.

Anselem showed his potential with several monster games on the glass late in the 2021-22 season, as his amount of court action increased after starting center Jesse Edwards, a junior, got injured this past February.

Edwards, hopefully, will fully recover from his injury. And he’s expected to return to the Hill for the 2022-23 term. Given that Edwards can play two more seasons, his senior year and the extra stanza of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the Covid-19 pandemic, perhaps Anselem feels that he’s got a better shot at consistently more playing time with another college squad.

I was hopeful that the 6-foot-10 Anselem would remain a member of the ‘Cuse roster, but I can’t blame him one iota for deciding to transfer. He’s so, so athletic with a lot of upside.

With Frank Anselem gone, Syracuse basketball is thin at center for the moment.

Anselem, a 2020 four-star center out of Prolific Prep in Napa Valley, Calif., was the most reliable back-up center option for the Orange within its current line-up.

Graduate student center Bourama Sidibe is done in Central New York. Redshirt sophomore John Bol Ajak is more of a power forward than a true center. The ‘Cuse does have two talented big men among its 2022 commits.

Three-star Maliq Brown was a total stud for the Blue Ridge School in St. George, Va., during his senior stanza, but he’s more of a power forward.

Power forward/center Peter Carey, most recently with the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, Mass., is also three stars. I think he’s underrated in the 2022 cycle, but like Brown, he’s an incoming freshman.

As we noted in a recent column, Syracuse basketball coaches may have interest in Quincy Ballard, a 7-foot big man in the 2020 class who was recruited by the Orange out of high school but ended up going to Florida State. Ballard, not too long ago, entered the transfer portal.

Then there’s the topic of scholarships available. In 2021-22, the ‘Cuse had 11 players on scholarship. With Sidibe, the Boeheim brothers and Anselem gone, that leaves the Orange at seven.

But with 2022 four-star guard Judah Mintz recently committing to Syracuse basketball, the team has six pledges in this class. So unless senior forward Cole Swider decides to not come back, or another player transfers, I’m not entirely sure that Syracuse basketball would have another scholarship remaining to bring in an additional big man.

However, the Orange’s apparent lack of veteran experience and depth (beyond Edwards) at the center spot does concern me a bit heading into the 2022-23 campaign.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Dishing out player grades, good and bad, for 2021-22. dark