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Olivier Sarr makes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list

Sarr is primed to be one of the best centers in college basketball.

UK Athletics

Kentucky Wildcats senior Olivier Sarr has made the watch list for the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, presented annually to the nation’s best center.

Named after Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, this year’s award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in April. The award is in its seventh year of existence, and Kentucky has yet to have someone win it.

Sarr, who was granted immediately eligibility last month after transferring from Wake Forest, enjoyed a breakthrough 2019-20 season 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-ACC Third Team, was a two-time ACC Player of the Week, and was the runner-up for the 2020 ACC Most Improved Player award.

Prior to his college career, the 7-foot native of France played for the French National Team at the U-17 and U-18 levels. He will be the 10th 7-footer in UK history and the first since Isaac Humphries in 2016-17.

Sarr is the fourth Wildcat to make a preseason positional ward watch list, joining freshman forward Isaiah Jackson (Karl Malone Award for nation’s best power forward), freshman guard Terrence Clarke Jerry West Award for nation’s top shooting guard), and freshman guard Brandon Boston Jr. (Julius Erving award watch list as nation’s top small forward).

By mid-February, the watch list will be trimmed to 10 players. Five finalists will be revealed in late February with the winner being announced during the annual ESPN College Basketball Awards show on April 9. Fan voting will be a part of all three rounds of voting before a winner is announced.

Fan Voting opened at 1 p.m. on Friday. Fans can vote for their favorite players in each of the three rounds. The top 10 player selections from the fan vote will get an additional vote towards making the next round.

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