A brand new frontcourt option has opened up for the Kentucky basketball program.
This morning, Wake Forest star center Olivier Sarr announced he would be entering the NCAA Transfer Portal after three years with the school.
After originally planning on returning to the school, Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning was fired and replaced by Steve Forbes of ETSU, leading Sarr to explore his options.
“It’s actually a tough decision,” Sarr said in an interview with ESPN. “I want to give Wake Forest a chance and listen to what he has to say. I’m entering the transfer portal because I want to listen to all the options. I want to be able to pick my own coach, not have one chosen for me.”
Now, Sarr, a 7-foot center originally from France, is set to become arguably the best transfer prospect in the nation. Last season at Wake Forest, Sarr earned earned third-team All-ACC honors last season after averaging 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds for the Demon Deacons. On the year, the 7-footer managed 11 double-doubles, including multiple breakout games that included a 30-point, 17-rebound performance against Notre Dame and a 25-point outing in a win over No. 7 Duke.
After missing out on Purdue graduate transfer Matt Haarms, who announced his commitment to BYU last week, Kentucky fans flooded Sarr’s social media pages in hopes of convincing the 7-foot star to put his name in the transfer portal and consider Lexington for his final year of eligibility.
And yes, Sarr noticed.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that; it was crazy,” he told ESPN. “It was funny and all that, but it got to a point where it was a little bit too much. Some Wake fans replied. I loved the loyalty from the Deacon fans. I love them, I appreciate what they did for me for three years. But Kentucky fans are really eager and thirsty for players.”
As crazy as it was, he understands the history of Kentucky basketball, calling it “one of the best programs in the country.”
“From what I know, it’s a historical program,” Sarr said in the interview. “It’s one of the best programs in the country.”
Here are just a few of the accolades from Sarr’s impressive junior season at Wake Forest:
• Third-Team All-ACC and runner-up for ACC Most Improved Player
• Appeared in 30 games, making 15 starts (missed one game due to injury)
• Averaged 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game
• Led the team with 11 double-doubles and 33 blocks
• Scored in double figures in 23 games
• Two-time ACC Player of the Week (Dec. 2, Mar. 2), 12th different Deacon to win it twice in a season
• Set career highs of 30 points (12-16 FG, 6-7 FT) and 17 rebounds vs. Notre Dame (Feb. 29) to become the 3rd Deacon in the past 50 years to have a 30-and-15 game against an ACC opponent (John Collins, Rodney Rogers)
• Scored 25 points (7-9 FG, 11-14 FT) vs. No. 7 Duke (Feb. 25)
• Had 20 points and 13 rebounds (8 offensive – tying school ACCT record) vs. Pitt in ACC Tournament (Mar. 10)
• Wooden Legacy All-Tournament Team after averaging 17.0 points and 11.7 rebounds over three games
• Scored 21 points (9-9 FG) and had eight rebounds vs. UNC Asheville (Nov. 13)
• Became first Deac since 2013-14 with first half double-double (10p/10r) and finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds vs. Boston College (Jan. 19)
While he is not expected to be a graduate transfer and would need to apply for a waiver to receive immediate eligibility, the NCAA has proven to be lenient in cases where players leave school due to coaching changes.
Until then, check out his highlights below:
Come on down.