While uncertainty continues to linger regarding Olivier Sarr’s waiver fight for immediate eligibility, one prominent voice in basketball believes the NCAA will ultimately decide to approve the Wake Forest transfer’s request.
In a string of recent tweets and conversations with various media members, ESPN’s Dick Vitale has said he feels Sarr will be eligible to play at Kentucky this season.
“Great news for [UCLA] having [Johnny Juzang] eligible as he will help [coach Mick Cronin] but also super news for [Kentucky] for [Olivier Sarr] being declared eligible by [the NCAA],” Vitale tweeted at the time of former UK guard Johnny Juzang being granted immediate eligibility earlier in the week. “Case for Sarr [is] much stronger than Juzang’s.”
“I feel that the NCAA will grant a waiver for [Kentucky’s] Olivier Sarr to be eligible this [year],” Vitale continued in another tweet. “Also based on the quick response on Johnny Juzang given a waiver [at UCLA], I think that the NCAA will be more lenient in waiver requests.”
In an interview with Shawn Smith of Go Big Blue Country, Vitale stressed just how important Sarr is to the roster, touching on his past numbers and overall talent.
“The most important decision facing Kentucky with this roster will be the eligibility of Olivier Sarr,” Vitale said. “If he’s eligible, it takes them to a whole new level because this is a legitimate player. This is a guy that’s done it at the collegiate level against big-time competition. There was a game last year, he had like 25 (points) on Duke, 35 – I think – on Notre Dame. I mean, this guy can play.”
“He’s an important player to Kentucky, he’s what they need,” Vitale continued. “If you look at their roster, they need that post presence, and he’s the best player in the transfer portal out of like 1200 kids.”
Regarding Sarr’s eligibility, Vitale doubled down on his optimism and pleaded his case for the NCAA.
“The question is, will he be eligible? I personally think, and I’ve been screaming about this on my website and Twitter, that I think it’s criminal that kids are at schools where coaches leave,” Vitale said. “I think there should be no need to request a waiver. I think it should be automatic.
“If a coach leaves – I’ll give you an example – and I don’t blame the coach, Steve Forbes has a great deal at Wake Forest. In the game of life, you want to advance. Obviously, going from East Tennessee State – a good school, don’t get me wrong – but it’s not the elite power conference of the ACC. Now he moves to that scenario, fine, then all the players on that team and all the players at Wake Forest where they replaced [Danny] Manning, they should be eligible immediately. There should be no discussion.
“He’s going, is he going to sit out a year? Forbes isn’t sitting out a year at Wake Forest, why should Sarr sit out? And to compound the situation, Danny Manning told him, “Don’t enter the NBA Draft,” number one. Number two, told him he was coming back. The kid was in a mixed situation.”
Check out Vitale’s thoughts on Sarr and his waiver fight in his interview with Go Big Blue Country below:
— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) May 27, 2020
Do you feel Sarr will be eligible at Kentucky this season?