LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ) – Kentucky basketball desperately need a big man in the 2020 recruiting cycle and they sort of filled that role.
Wake Forest center Olivier Sarr has announced he’s transferring to Kentucky.
— Olivier Sarr (@sarr_olivier) May 6, 2020
The 7 footer was a huge piece of the team for his junior year at Wake Forest.
Sarr Appeared in 30 games, making 15 starts and only missed one game due to injury.
In those 30 games, he averaged 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
Sarr led the Demon Deacons with 11 double-doubles and 33 blocks
He also scored in double figures in 23 games.
At season’s end, Sarr would be named Third-Team All-ACC and be runner-up for ACC Most Improved Player.
Sarr’s commitment comes on the heels of Wake Forest’s new head coach Steve Forbes taking a shot at UK academics while trying to recruit the 7 footer to stay in Winston Salem
Here’s Steve Forbes on re-recruiting Olivier Sarr: “He’s our No. 1 recruit … Why would go to Wake for 3 years and put all that time in to get this prestigious degree, then get your degree at a place like Kentucky? That’s what I told him.”@SportsHubTriad pic.twitter.com/IqQULEBuvs
— Josh Graham (@JoshGrahamRadio) May 5, 2020
As it stands now, Sarr would have to sit out a year. He is not a grad transfer, but most expect him to apply for a transfer waiver to play immediately.
In a release by UK Athletics Sarr says,
“First of all, I want to thank everyone at Wake Forest – everyone from the fans, to my teammates, to all the coaches, the staff, the administration, my teachers, our academic support team, the RAs, managers and so many others – for all they’ve done for me the last three years,” Sarr said. “All of you worked with me to make me a better person, a better basketball player and a better man. I am indebted to all of you for the experience I’ve had the last three seasons. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“To the fans at Wake Forest, thank you for adopting me and making me one of your own. I’ll never forget my time in Winston-Salem and the memories our team made playing for you. Once a Demon Deacon, always a Demon Deacon.
“With everything that has happened in the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve had a lot to think about and consider. If I’m being honest, it’s been an emotional struggle for me. Coach (Danny) Manning and the staff were family. After thinking deeply about it, talking with my support system and weighing my future, I just didn’t feel like I could be at my best by returning to Wake Forest.
“With that said, I have decided to finish my career at the University of Kentucky and take on this challenge. I want to thank everyone for their kindness and respect in coming to this decision. I will always be a fan of Wake Forest. BBN, I can’t wait to get started.”
In that same release Coach Cal adds,
“I am excited to coach Olivier,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Olivier is a great kid and a terrific player on the rise who knows he’s going to have to come in and lead. He gives us a veteran, established player who has not only played on a big stage and played well, he wants this next challenge.
“When we first talked to Olivier, my first thought wasn’t on what he does for this team, it was why he wanted to be here. I coached Danny and know his relationship with his players, so when Danny talked about what a great kid he is, we said, ‘Let’s do this.’
“Oliver was one of the best players in the ACC last season and got better and better – as he’s done his whole career – as the year went on. By the end of the season, he was one of the top five players in the league. I’m ecstatic he wanted to be a part of this program and what we have going forward.“