If Olivier Sarr becomes eligible, Kentucky comes into the 2020-2021 basketball season as a Final Four favorite.
If he does not, there will be a lot of questions about how complete this team will be. While there is talent coming in to play in the frontcourt, the size and role of a traditional center just is not there.
Recently, 2021 prospect Moussa Cisse announced that he is reclassifying to 2020. The five-star center is exactly what Kentucky would need if Sarr was not in the equation, but ultimately, guaranteed playing time won out, as Cisse announced today that he will be playing for the Memphis Tigers. ESPN broke the news first.
Cisse is the No. 9 player and No. 2 center in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He is going to make an immediate impact at Memphis and has the potential to play himself into the 2021 NBA Draft lottery.
LSU was viewed as the favorite for Cisse for much of the last year, but for whatever reason, Memphis started gaining steam in recent weeks before ultimately picking the AAC Tigers. Perhaps LSU’s pending notice of allegations from the NCAA, which could lead to a postseason ban a possible suspension for head coach Will Wade.
While it is a big miss for Kentucky, it is not unexpected. Just like Frank Anselem walked away from Kentucky and committed to Syracuse, nobody wants to come in and play behind Olivier Sarr. That is understandable, but it puts an immense amount of pressure on Sarr’s eligibility waiver.
Despite the debacle last season with James Wiseman and Penny Hardaway’s lack of proven ability as a coach, Memphis continues to bring in top guys and hand around in consideration for many others. Since Penny’s first big class struggled last season, there may be a lot of pressure on this group to redeem Hardaway’s name in the recruiting world.
Can Cisse handle that kind of pressure? Hopefully we will have a season and get the chance to find out.