Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
John Calipari is ‘confident’ Olivier Sarr will be granted an NCAA waiver
By ADAM ZAGORIA
Kentucky coach John Calipari is “confident” Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr will be granted an NCAA waiver to play this season.
“Olivier’s stuff has been in, where we’re waiting to hear,” he said Tuesday. “We feel confident, but you never know until you hear it’s good to go. He’s got a great case. But, you know, we’ll wait to hear.”
The 7-foot Frenchman applied for a waiver to play immediately at Kentucky in 2020-21, likely arguing that Wake Forest told him Danny Manning would return (before he was fired) and effectively delaying his ability to enter the NBA Draft before the deadline. He then transferred to Kentucky in May.
“There’s no way I sit out,” Sarr told ESPN. when he transferred, adding he could have also played professionally instead.
Calipari said he couldn’t elaborate on Sarr’s argument for a waiver.
“Well, I can’t (elaborate),” he said. “I can’t. The bucket thing is the what they talk about publicly, the NCAA. It fits in these buckets. I believe so. But where his fits in, you know, I’m not at liberty to say.”
Sarr averaged 13.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game as a junior last season, notching 11 double-doubles.
“What they’ll do is they’ll red flag it because it’s Kentucky,” Calipari said. “It’s Olivier Sarr who’s one of the best transfer players and they’ll want to make sure, let’s really make sure we have this right. And they may take more time, but I don’t think it’s like they’re treated any different. No, I know they don’t treat it any different than any other case, but it is more of a high-profile case, so they’ll look at it.”
As for when the college basketball season might start, Calipari said he hopes it starts on time but that we have to follow the “science.”
“Everybody’s got to do what they can, but we also got to follow the science,” he said. “Gotta follow the science.”
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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.