Jeff Borzello over at ESPN.com’s college basketball operation has a good story on Kentucky’s Olivier Sarr and how his immediate eligibility will impact the Cats (and the Cats’ opponents) this upcoming season. Borzello reached out to coaches from Sarr’s old conference, the ACC, and Sarr’s new conference, the SEC, as well as coaches from other parts of the country to get a feel for expectations for Sarr in Lexington.
The story is behind a pay wall but I’ll share a couple examples before sending you over to ESPN.com for the full quotes.
Like this one from an anonymous ACC coach who sounds like a hater:
“All these transfers, particularly the immediately eligible ones, they’re not going to make that much improvement,” a third ACC coach said. “He was the centerpiece on a team that finished last in our league, so the numbers are always a little bit skewed. Somebody’s gotta score on the bad teams.”
Now for one a little more positive:
“The way Calipari utilizes their big guys, Sarr will be a lob threat, roll to the rim, get on the offensive glass. They run continuous pin-downs to have guards curl into the lane, so he can screen and release to the rim for a lob or a free run at the glass,” an opposing coach said. “He moves his feet, contests shots on the perimeter. Extend on the floor a little bit. He can give them a lot of what Nick Richards gave them last year.”
Or the anonymous SEC coach who praised Coach Cal for the job he does:
“I don’t think Cal gets the credit that he deserves as a coach,” an SEC coach said. “He makes it look effortless, he does it every year at Kentucky. It’s become normal. People don’t realize how good he has to be to do it every year. He has a unique ability, in a very, very short window, to get guys to come together as a unit, play for the greater cause and get them to play for one another.”
Calipari’s other recent addition, Jacob Toppin, came up in the conversations too.