French center Olivier Sarr transfers to Kentucky

Photo: Lynn Hey/AP

After three seasons at Wake Forest, French big man Olivier Sarr announced via Twitter that he is transferring to Kentucky.

“I felt that was the best fit and the best opportunity for me, being able to play for that great program and showcase my winning drive on that stage,” Sarr told ESPN about playing for coach John Calipari. “Coach Cal made me understand that I was needed over there.”

Sarr entered the NCAA transfer portal on May 1 and plans to apply for a waiver to play immediately next season.

The 7-footer also spoke about his role at Kentucky, after they lost six players to the NBA draft.

“Cal told me that, as always, he has a young team,” Sarr said. “They are really talented. Without me, they are the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. But they don’t have the experience that I have from playing in the ACC. He wants me to be a leader, to show them and tell them how college basketball is. I will be a great example for them. It was clear from the talks that they needed me. They needed experience.”

There seems to be a clear starting spot for Sarr and Kentucky’s track record for developing and sending players to the NBA was appealing.

“That’s one of the reasons I chose Kentucky,” Sarr said. “They have the resources and they do a great job of getting big men ready for the NBA. But it’s not about what I say; it’s about what I do on the court. I need to put the work in and show that I am one of these guys.”

He averaged 13.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, while shooting 52.7 percent from the field.

Sarr was named to the All-ACC third team this past season.

He represented France at the FIBA 2017 U18 European Championship.