Kentucky lands Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr
On Wednesday, John Calipari and Kentucky landed perhaps the most physically gifted transfer of the 2020 cycle when Wake Forest junior Olivier Sarr announced via his Twitter that he's headed to Lexington.
A seven-footer from France, Sarr averaged 13.7 points, nine rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game as a junior while earning Third team All-ACC honors.
"I have decided to finish my career at the University of Kentucky and take on this challenge," wrote Sarr in a statement. "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."
Technically, NCAA rules dictate that non graduate transfers must sit a year. The hope of many transfers has been that a vote to allow one-time transfers with no penalty would go through in a few weeks, making anybody who transferred this spring immediately eligible. However, that vote may end up getting delayed and there is also a lot of talk that even if it does pass, the rule change wouldn't go in place until the 2021-22 season.
If that's the case, then Sarr may have a pretty good claim for a waiver given the manner and timing of Danny Manning's firing a few weeks ago. Also, from speaking to many college coaches, there is a thought that the NCAA is simply tired of ruling on transfer waivers (which is why they want a rule change passed) and may just elect to green light any reasonable waiver request.
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED FROM SARR?
When I first saw Sarr as a prospect looking to come to the States, I was impressed by his size, length and fluid athleticism. He was a borderline five-star prospect in my eyes and I expected big things from him as soon as he hit campus in Winston-Salem. While his skill may have been overrated, he was even a little more athletic than I expected him to be. The biggest issue seemed to be that he was not ready for the physical play of high major basketball, so his play during his first two years was a bit of a disappointment.
As a junior, Sarr had gotten much stronger and seemed to be embracing physical play more often. He settled for fewer jumpers, was much more active around the basket and started to show more often why he was so highly regarded when Wake signed him.
I can't help but worry about some about Sarr's relatively ineffective play as a freshman and sophomore and with any player from a team that isn't very good, there's a little bit of "well even bad teams need leading scorers and rebounders" that enters my head. However, Sarr's physical gifts and overall talent win out and I still believe that he's the best transfer to hit the market this spring. If he's ready to embrace the way Calipari and his staff will challenge him, then he could provide a major impact in Lexington.