Now that Wake Forest star Olivier Sarr is in the NCAA transfer portal, new Demon Deacon head coach Steve Forbes is doing whatever it takes to keep the 7-foot center in Winston-Salem.
After bringing the entire Wake staff to meet with Sarr in person on Sunday, Forbes has been joining various podcasts and radio stations to talk about their recruiting efforts and roster retention, among numerous topics.
In his most recent appearance this afternoon, Forbes threw a jab at the University of Kentucky – a school expected to be in serious contention to land Sarr – when comparing to Wake Forest academically.
“I think the most important thing is, why would you go to Wake for three years, put all that time in for a prestigious degree, and end up getting your degree at a place like Kentucky?” Forbes said of his conversation with Sarr on The Drive with Josh Graham today. “That got a chuckle out of him. That’s no disrespect to Kentucky, I obviously respect them, but you know what I mean. I just think there’s a lot to be said for putting all that work in academically and not being able to finish what you started. I know those things are all important to him, and he’s said that.”
Another key recruiting pitch for Wake? Roster familiarity.
Referring to his conversation with Sarr, Forbes said that the highly-coveted transfer is going to be playing for a new coach no matter where he goes. What he won’t have elsewhere, though, are teammates that he’s comfortable with and cares about.
“The biggest thing I told him was, “You’re going to play for a new coach no matter what. Do you want the risk of playing with new teammates? Because you’re not going to have a summer, you’re only going to have six-to-eight weeks to prepare for the season and work through chemistry. Are you going to come back and play with teammates that love you, care about you, and can get you the ball?” It’s the last year of his career, and I think that’s a big thing,” Forbes said.
What does the new Wake Forest coach think of the school’s chances in bringing Sarr back to Winston-Salem? Roughly “50-50,” especially considering the 7-foot center has quite a bit of interest from high-major programs.
“I’d like to say that I’m 100%, but I’m not. I’d say 50-50 right now,” he said. “I haven’t talked with Olivier since we left, we’ve just texted a little bit back and forth. … I don’t have to tell Wake fans, he’s just a phenomenal person, kid, young man, player. I really enjoyed visiting with him, and we’re not done visiting him. It’s a full-court press on him, he’s our No. 1 recruit right now. We’re putting our best foot forward, it’s all we can do. Just trying to build a relationship with him like everyone else is doing.”
“We’ll keep trying, keep plugging, but he’s got a lot of really good teams recruiting him.”