The Wildcats scored a major pledge Wednesday in the form of Olivier Sarr, as the former Wake Forest center announced he was rocking Kentucky blue next season.
However, there’s no guarantee that Sarr will be eligible to play next season, as he’s classified as a tradition transfer who must sit out a season before being eligible to compete at his next school.
Clearly, Kentucky thinks there’s a decent chance he gets a waiver to play if they’re willing to take his commitment right now with other frontcourt targets on the board, and more will likely emerge in the coming weeks.
That’s why, for now, I’d lean toward the NCAA giving Sarr a waiver to suit up next season in Lexington. But if that doesn’t happen, Sarr isn’t planning to sit out a year and play his final season in 2021-22.
In an interview with ESPN, Sarr made it clear that he’s playing basketball next season, whether it’s at Kentucky or for a pro team somewhere else.
“I could go pro, play one year in the EuroLeague, somewhere to get ready for the NBA,” Sarr told ESPN. “There’s no way I sit out.”
Sarr does have a good case for getting eligible, as his previous head coach, Danny Manning, was just fired. Also, Wake Forest lost several other players to transfer, gutting this roster to the point it’s going to be hard for them to compete next season, with or without Sarr.
Those hardships should make it easier for Sarr to get a waiver, but given the NCAA’s history of little-to-no consistency with eligibility waivers, it’s far from a given.
One big factor in getting Sarr eligible is how much support Sarr gets from Wake Forest for immediate eligibility. Typically, players who transfer and get support from their previous school to be eligible the following season become more likely to get that waiver.
Just last year, Kentucky supported Jemarl Baker Jr. and Quade Green to get immediate eligibility at Arizona and Washington respective. Both got waivers and were able to compete last season.
Hopefully, Kentucky and Sarr get that much-needed support from Wake Forest. Or else, we may not see Sarr ever suit up in that Kentucky blue.