By LARRY VAUGHT
At least the process is officially underway to get Olivier Sarr eligible to play at Kentucky next season.
The 7-0 center transferred to Kentucky after averaging 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last year for Wake Forest and coach Danny Manning. However, when Manning was fired just before the deadline for players to enter the NBA draft, Sarr opted to leave Wake Forest despite the pleas of new coach Steve Forbes
ESPN analyst Dick Vitale announced on Twitter Saturday that UK had started the eligibility waiver request. He tweeted that Calipari “told me tonight that all the paper work for Olivier Sarr has been submitted to the NCAA for a waiver to be eligible instantly.”
Vitale said it was a “no brainer” to him that “all players at a school with a coaching change should be allowed to transfer and be allowed to play.” It might be but it is not with the NCAA which has never automatically allowed that in basketball and fotoball — even though there is discussion about making that okay like it is in some other sports.
Sarr, a third-team all-ACC choice last year, would certainly fill a huge void on Kentucky’s 2020-21 team. The Cats do not have a true center on the current roster unless Sarr is declared eligible.
The NCAA wasted no time granting eligibility for Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang for next season at UCLA. Will it do the same for Sarr? Some like Vitale and ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg believe it should be an easy yes. Others are not so sure the NCAA will cut Kentucky or Sarr any leniency at all.
But now that the paperwork has been submitted and reports are that Forbes gave his blessing to the waiver, then the NCAA should now be able to review the case and one would like to think by July 4th we could have an answer.