The Arizona Wildcats have one more scholarship to spend and Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr seems like a perfect match. The 7-footer would give the Wildcats a proven veteran in the frontcourt—something they could definitely use—and add even more international flair to a roster that will be loaded with it in 2020-21.
The Frenchman announced his intention to enter the transfer portal on Friday, the result of Wake Forest firing eight-year coach Danny Manning.
“It’s actually a tough decision,” Sarr told ESPN. “I want to give Wake Forest a chance and listen to what he has to say. I’m entering the transfer portal because I want to listen to all the options. I want to be able to pick my own coach, not have one chosen for me.”
Sarr, who started in 15 of the 30 games he appeared in, averaged 13.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 26.7 minutes with the Demon Deacons this season, including 11 double-doubles and some monster performances like a 30-point, 17-rebound outing against Notre Dame and a 21-point, 13-rebound outburst in a loss to Arizona at the Wooden Legacy tournament.
A face-up big man with a budding low-post game, Sarr was 38th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage and 25th in fouls drawn per game, a big stat considering he shot 76 percent from the free-throw line. He will be a senior in 2020-21 but will need to receive a waiver in order to play immediately since he is not on track to graduate by the end of the summer.
If that waiver does not get approved, Sarr told ESPN that he will go pro instead of redshirting. Assuming Sarr does get that waiver (which is not a safe assumption), he could be a day-one starter for Arizona. He and Nevada transfer Jordan Brown would make for a formidable frontcourt duo.
But it remains to be seen if Arizona will pursue Sarr and if any interest is reciprocated. The Wildcats may simply be content with pairing Brown with freshman (and Frenchman!) Daniel Batcho, sophomore Christian Koloko and senior Ira Lee instead of a one-year stopgap like Sarr. Perpetual roster turnover has been part of Arizona’s problem lately.
And you can bet there will be dozens of schools lining up for Sarr’s services once he is officially in the portal, Kentucky being one of them.