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John Calipari, Olivier Sarr react to NBA decision

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“I will forever be a part of ‘La Familia.’”

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Mississippi State vs Kentucky Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Wildcats senior forward Olivier Sarr announced Tuesday he will forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2021 NBA Draft.

Sarr, who transferred in from Wake Forest this past season, averaged 10.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for the Wildcats and led the team with three double-doubles.

“I want to thank my parents, my brother, my entire family and support circle for believing in me every step of the way,” Sarr said in his announcement. “I have been blessed during my four years of college to have learned from two great coaches in Coach John Calipari and Coach Danny Manning and alongside teammates that I consider brothers for a lifetime. I am so grateful to have played at Kentucky, and I want to thank all the staff and passionate fans for preparing me for the next step of my journey.

“After years of hard work and dedication, I will be graduating and pursuing my professional career by declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft. I am so excited about what the future holds and ready to take on new challenges. I will forever be a part of ‘La Familia.’ ”

Sarr is the fourth player from the 2020-21 Kentucky roster to declare for the 2021 NBA Draft, joining freshmen Brandon Boston, Terrence Clarke and Isaiah Jackson.

“I am so happy for Olivier and excited to see what he does with this next step in his journey,” head coach John Calipari said in a press release. “Olivier really improved himself this season, yet he still has a ton of room to grow and has the type of skills that translate to that next level. At the end of the day, you are talking about a 7-foot skilled big man who can shoot it and block shots. He is only going to get better.

“I wish Olivier had the opportunity this past year to enjoy a normal season here with a summer to build additional strength, but he had a plan and stuck with it throughout this whole process. He has a maturity about him that will serve him well entering the NBA. Olivier has my full support, and I can’t wait to watch him tackle this next phase of his career.”

After transferring from Wake Forest, where he averaged 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game during the 2019-20 season, Sarr played and started in all 25 games this past season, recording 14 double-figure scoring games and four double-digit rebounding performances.

Sarr shot 47.0% from the floor this season and a career-best 79.1% from the free-throw line. The 7-footer also showed range from the outside with a career-high 12 three-pointers on 46.2% shooting. Sarr led UK in blocks in eight games.

The Frenchman played his best basketball down the stretch, scoring in double figures in nine of the final 12 games, including 14 or more points in the last three games.

In addition, Sarr was one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, which honors student-athletes who excel in four areas: character, competition, classroom and community service. He was named to the Southeastern Conference Community Service Team for his service in his time at Wake Forest and Kentucky.

In May, Sarr will graduate with a degree communication.

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