Sarr cleared to play immediately for Kentucky

UK forward gives Cats immediate inside presence
Posted at 7:43 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 20:34:18-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky forward Olivier Sarr has been granted immediate eligibility for the 2020-2021 season.

The seven-foot transfer from Wake Forest had already been cleared to play by the NCAA but was waiting to hear from the Southeastern Conference. There was a rule that if you transferred with only one year remaining of eligibility you had to sit out for the season. But the NCAA then granted an extra year of eligibility to all winter student-athletes and that helped clear the way.

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Sarr will provide the Wildcats a big boost upfront. The 7-footer enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019-20 with the Demon Deacons, averaging 13.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He shot 52.7% from the floor, made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Third Team and was the runner-up for the 2020 ACC Most Improved Player award.

“I want to start by thanking the NCAA, the SEC and Kentucky for this opportunity,” said Saar, a centerpiece at Wake Forest over the last three seasons who transferred to UK in early May. “I am excited to finish my college career in front of the Big Blue Nation and chase No. 9 with my team.”

“In Olivier’s case, I know this has been difficult for him, everything from the coaching change at Wake Forest, to deciding his future to waiting through this process," said UK head coach John Calipari. He’s gone about his business every day and continued to work hard in hopes of joining his teammates on the floor this winter."

Sarr should offer Kentucky an elite rim protector with considerable size and good athleticism. In his third season with the Demon Deacons, he led the team with 11 double-doubles and 33 blocks, scored in double figures in 23 games, and was a two-time ACC Player of the Week. Sarr was particularly good late in conference play, finishing on a six-game double-figure scoring run with three double-doubles.

Included in that season-ending tear was a 20-point, 13-rebound game vs. Pitt in the 2019-20 finale, a career-high 30 points and 17 rebounds in a win vs. Notre Dame, and 25 points in a double-overtime victory over Duke. Sarr also enjoyed three straight double-doubles in January vs. Virginia, Clemson and Boston College and recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds vs. nationally ranked Arizona.

Sarr showed promise as a sophomore, averaging 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25 games, including 16 starts. He led the team with 25 blocks and scored in double figures in four games.