Kentucky adds 7-foot Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr, who will apply for a waiver | Zagsblog
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Saturday / May 30.
  • Kentucky adds 7-foot Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr, who will apply for a waiver

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Kentucky added some major frontcourt help on Wednesday when 7-foot Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr committed to the Wildcats.

    The French big man will apply for a waiver to play immediately at Kentucky in 2020-21, sources said, likely arguing that Wake Forest told him Danny Manning would return and effectively delaying his ability to enter the NBA Draft before Sunday’s deadline. He entered the NCAA transfer portal on Sunday.

    “There’s no way I sit out,” Sarr told ESPN. when he transferred, adding he could also play professionally instead.

    If he doesn’t obtain a waiver, Sarr would have to sit next season because the NCAA one-time transfer waiver is unlikely to pass on May 20, with the vote likely getting pushed until January.

    Sarr averaged 13.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game as a junior last season, notching 11 double-doubles.

    Sarr is one of seven Wake Forest players to enter the transfer portal during the transition from Manning’s firing to the hiring of Steve Forbes.

    “I don’t think people realize how hard it is for me,” Sarr told ESPN. “I hope they understand that I’m not transferring because I don’t like the school, the team, the new coach. Just that I felt like this was the best opportunity and I had to take it.

    “It’s going to be tough, talking to my coaches and teammates, fans, professors, managers. It’s a tough decision. I don’t know how to explain it. I loved Wake. They welcomed me with open arms, when I was a skinny freshman who barely spoke English. I will always be a Deacon. I hope they always remember me as a Deacon.”

    Kentucky lost junior Nick Richards and sophomore E.J. Montgomery to the NBA Draft process, while grad transfer Nate Sestina exhausted his eligibility. The Wildcats missed out Purdue grad transfer Matt Haarms when he picked BYU and Texas native Greg Brown when he stayed home at Texas.

    Lance Ware, the 6-9 power forward from Camden (N.J.) High School, and 6-10 Michigan big man Isaiah Jackson are the school’s only incoming big man. Kentucky has the No. 1 recruiting class nationally per 247Sports.com, with a class that features wings B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke.

    “Cal told me that, as always, he has a young team,” Sarr said. “They are really talented. Without me, they are the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. But they don’t have the experience that I have from playing in the ACC. He wants me to be a leader, to show them and tell them how college basketball is. I will be a great example for them. It was clear from the talks that they needed me. They needed experience.”

    This post has been updated.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.