Olivier Sarr to Transfer to Kentucky from Wake Forest; 3rd Team All-ACC in 2019

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 6, 2020

Wake Forest center Olivier Sarr (30) reacts afters scoring in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Winston-Salem, N.C. (AP Photo/Lynn Hey)
Lynn Hey/Associated Press

Less than one week after announcing he entered the transfer portal, Olivier Sarr has found a new home at the University of Kentucky. 

Speaking to ESPN's Jeff Borzello and Jonathan Givony, Sarr announced Wednesday that he is leaving Wake Forest to join the Wildcats. 

"I felt that was the best fit and the best opportunity for me," he said. "Being able to play for that great program and showcase my winning drive on that stage. Coach Cal made me understand that I was needed over there."

Sarr told Borzello on May 1 he was entering the transfer portal after Wake Forest's decision to fire Danny Manning last month and replace him with Steve Forbes:

"I wanted to test the [NBA draft] waters. I requested the UAC [Undergraduate Advisory Committee]. I tried to test the waters, then I had a conversation with Coach and he convinced me to stay and get my degree. He had plans for me, I was going to do great things in the ACC, with the team and individually, of course. It was late April, Coach was going to stay. Then, 24-48 hours before the [draft] deadline, Coach got fired. I didn't get the chance to put my name in and change my mind."

Announcing his decision to transfer on Twitter, Sarr wrote Manning and the previous coaching staff "were family" and he "didn't feel like I could be at my best by returning to Wake Forest."   

Olivier Sarr @sarr_olivier

New beginnings @KentuckyMBB @UKCoachCalipari #LaFamilia 🔵⚪️ https://t.co/CBRsXsGgsP

Per Borzello and Givony, Sarr noted his decision came down to Kentucky and Wake Forest, even though more than a dozen schools contacted him after he went into the transfer portal. 

The next step for Sarr will be applying for a waiver that would allow him to play immediately. Borzello and Givony noted the French center has too many credits remaining to graduate before transferring. 

Kentucky head coach John Calipari entered the offseason needing to rebuild and reload his roster. All five Wildcats starters from the 2019-20 season declared for this year's NBA Draft. 

Per 247Sports composite rankings, the Wildcats had the top 2020 recruiting class even before Sarr's decision. Six players signed a letter of intent to play for Calipari, including two of the top 10 recruits in BJ Boston (No. 4) and Terrence Clarke (No. 7).

Sarr will join that group after being named to the All-ACC third team last season. He averaged 13.7 and nine rebounds per game as a junior for the Demon Deacons.