To this point, the belief has been 2020-21 would be Olivier Sarr’s final season of college basketball.
Though the transfer center from Wake Forest hasn’t had the senior season he’d hoped for, he’s still been expected to go pro once this season ends, whether he lands in the NBA or overseas.
But is returning to Kentucky for a fifth season actually an option?
During Friday’s meeting with the media, Sarr admitted that he’s not made a decision on his future. He’s instead focused on being the best he can be for the Wildcats as they look to make a near-miraculous run to the NCAA Tournament.
“We’re in the final homestretch of the season, so honestly, my mind is on the end of the season and trying to be the best version of myself every night, every game,” Sarr stated. “I think that’s a good question. That’s a question that I think about. I don’t have the answer yet, but I’m just glad to be here and happy to finish the season.”
Though Sarr obviously has aspirations of playing professional basketball, he also highly values the college education he’s been fortunate enough to pursue.
“I think for me it’s all about how I was raised. My dad comes from Africa. He comes from Senegal. Basically I’m trying to do what he did. He left for a better life. I’m not saying that I had bad conditions back home, but he left for a better life and went to France and studied, earned his degree and he is now living a comfortable life. He built his own legacy, and I think that’s the path I want to choose.
“Being able to be in this position today, it’s a blessing for me. It’s a way of remembering what my dad taught me and he’s still teaching me to this day. It’s just an honor to be able to do that.”
While this season hasn’t been quite the dream season Kentucky and Sarr hoped for, he’s still loved having the chance to play for one of the top programs in all of college athletics.
“Amazing. I tell them that it’s amazing regardless of wins and losses,” said Sarr on what he tells people back home in France about playing at Kentucky. “That’s part of the job. Unfortunately, not at Kentucky, not as much, but I just tell them it’s a blessing. It’s amazing to put on that jersey that, four years ago, I would have never thought I would be in this position today. Not a lot of kids in France get a chance to play for Kentucky or a school like that. I mean, I’m blessed honestly. All I can tell them is I’m trying to take as much as I can while I’m here and keep moving forward. It’s an amazing experience.”
Sarr also believes the struggles of this season will help him and his teammates now and for the rest of their lives. It also helps that he’s had the Big Blue Nation behind him through the trials and tribulations of what could be his final season of college basketball.
“It’s a tough year, yes, but I’m grateful to be able to experience that at the University of Kentucky, Sarr said. “It’s tough. It’s a lot of obstacles. But we’re learning so much from that. I think later in our lives we will be grateful for that moment even though at that time in the present it’s really hard to get through. But we feel the support. There are a lot of fans out there that support us and it’s incredible.”
Sarr will be honored Saturday during Kentucky’s Senior Day festivities before taking on the Florida Gators. Here’s to hoping it’s another memory he gets to look back on and cherish for the rest of his life.