As we approach the two-month mark following Olivier Sarr’s commitment to Kentucky, fans are on the edge of their seats waiting on the NCAA to decide his fate for the 2020-21 season.
Sarr has made the trip to Lexington and is officially moved in at the Wildcat Coal Lodge, but there is still no guarantee the 7-foot center will be eligible to take the floor this season.
With Sarr, Kentucky instantly becomes a title contender. Without him, and the ceiling on UK’s potential success takes an undeniable hit, as frontcourt depth becomes a legitimate issue.
For that reason, when breaking down the top remaining offseason decisions in college basketball, ESPN ranked Sarr’s waiver status near the top of the list.
Coming in at No. 4 overall, Sarr was the top waiver case on the list:
“Whether Olivier Sarr can play for the Wildcats next season is going to be the biggest waiver storyline of the offseason,” said ESPN’s Jeff Borzello. “He left Wake Forest following the coaching change in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and ultimately committed to Kentucky. Sarr, a 7-foot center, earned third-team All-ACC honors last season and was arguably the best transfer all spring. He would immediately start at center for the Wildcats, and John Calipari doesn’t have any comparable alternatives if Sarr isn’t eligible to play right away. Sarr also has said he wouldn’t stick around in Lexington if his waiver was denied and he was forced to sit out before playing. Sarr being eligible would push Kentucky into the top five nationally, but his waiver being denied would leave Kentucky in the top 15 to 20 due to questions down low.”
Sarr falls behind Gonzaga’s trio of Filip Petrusev, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi at No. 1, Iowa’s Luka Garza at No. 2, and Baylor’s Jared Butler and MaCio Teague at No. 3, all of whom are testing the NBA Draft waters.
Back in May, national basketball analyst Jeff Goodman told KSR that Sarr’s waiver decision is a game changer not only for Kentucky, but the entire college basketball world.
“Once he becomes eligible, he fills a huge, huge, huge hole for Kentucky,” Goodman said. “He means more to any team in the top 50 than anybody else, and it’s not even close.”
With Sarr, Goodman sees Kentucky as a sure-fire Final Four team.
He just has to get eligible first.
“Nobody knows what the NCAA will do with this waiver, but I think it’s a season determining waiver for Kentucky,” Goodman told KSR. “With him, yeah, I think they’re a Final Four team. This is a kid who put up 14 and 9 in the ACC, albeit for a sh**ty team, he still put up good numbers and is a veteran. … I could see him coming in and filling a void like Reid Travis did.”
Looking at some of the other waiver decisions we’ve seen thus far, we could be right on the cusp of an announcement here in the near future.
Will the NCAA rule in Sarr’s favor?