Syracuse Basketball: Frank Anselem to the Dawgs, SU still thin at center

Syracuse basketball, Frank Anselem (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Frank Anselem (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /

Frank Anselem is leaving the Syracuse basketball program to suit up for a team in the Southeastern Conference that was one of his finalists coming out of prep school.

Anselem, the 6-foot-10 sophomore center who said he would enter the NCAA’s transfer portal toward the end of March, announced on Saturday via his Twitter page that he would commit to Georgia.

First and foremost, I’m wishing Frank Anselem all the best. After junior center Jesse Edwards unfortunately got injured this past February during the 2021-22 campaign, Anselem assumed the starting spot at this position, and he put forth a couple of rather nice performances.

Understandably in search of more playing time, I would imagine, Anselem hit the portal. Per a recent tweet from Pro Insight director of scouting Andrew Slater, Anselem’s five finalists were Georgia, Georgetown, SMU, Kennesaw State and LSU.

For the 2022-23 stanza, Anselem will join a Bulldogs squad that really struggled a term ago, finishing at 6-26 overall and just 1-17 in conference play. Georgia has a new head coach, hiring former Florida boss Mike White to replace Tom Crean.

By the way, several years ago, Anselem had a final four of the Orange, Georgia, San Diego State and New Mexico when he committed to the ‘Cuse as a four-star center in the 2020 cycle out of Prolific Prep in Napa Valley, Calif.

With the transfer out by Frank Anselem, Syracuse basketball lacks depth at center.

According to ESPN, in 2021-22 Anselem averaged 14.2 minutes, 2.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest, while connecting on 62.5 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from the free-throw line.

As we look ahead to 2022-23 for Syracuse basketball, the Boeheim brothers are gone, as are Cole Swider and Bourama Sidibe. Add in Anselem, and sophomore guard/forward Chaz Owens has also entered the transfer portal.

Factoring in the Orange’s six-member 2022 class, and I believe that the ‘Cuse presently has 11 players on scholarship, which means there are two open spots.

I got the sense that, once Anselem hit the portal, Syracuse basketball coaches were intent on adding another center to the 2022-23 roster, as a back-up to Edwards.

Not too long ago, the Orange was a finalist for Syracuse-area native Quincy Ballard, but the 7-foot sophomore center elected to transfer from Florida State to Wichita State.

Between the existing core group of returning players and the 2022 class, the ‘Cuse does have several other power forwards on the roster who likely could man the center position here and there.

Probably the most likely option as Edwards’ back-up at center is 2022 three-star commit Peter Carey, who didn’t play in his senior season for the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, Mass., due to injury, or redshirt sophomore big man John Bol Ajak, who can suit up at power forward or center.

Still, I’d feel a whole lot better about the center position if the ‘Cuse could bring in another player via the portal, however, that isn’t so easy to do.

The bevy of guys who are hitting the transfer portal are doing so to find a destination where their playing time will increase, so joining Syracuse basketball to be a back-up to Edwards probably isn’t too appealing for most of them.

We’ll continue to monitor whether the Orange coaching staff pursues any additional big men who are in the portal, but the ‘Cuse may have to roll with what it currently has for 2022-23. Go crush things in the SEC, Frank Anselem!

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Projected starting rotation for the 2022-23 season. dark