Wake Forest professor believes Olivier Sarr can be leader at UK “with no problem”

Olivier Sarr

By LARRY VAUGHT

Dave Goren’s sportscasting class at Wake Forest normally has a high percentage of Wake Forest athletes in it.

“I think a lot just want an easy A and then are surprised by the work involved,” said Goren, executive director of the National Sports Media Association and sideline reporter for Wake Forest football.

One of the professor’s students for the 2019 fall semester was all-ACC basketball player Olivier Sarr, who has transferred to UK and hopes to get a NCAA waiver so he can play this season.

“I don’t know that most of my students wants to be sportscasters but I think it is great for the athletes, including Olivier, to learn the other side and how we do our job,” Goren said.

Every student in his class has four projects — three short papers, a two-minute sportiest they must write and do in front of a camera, a two-minute play by play broadcast and up to a two-minute reporter package. The class final is a sports talk show.

Since Sarr is a native of France and English is his second language, Goren offered to let him do his class projects in French (the professor took French for six years from eighth grade through his freshman year in college).

“It would have been fun for me to translate but he chose English,” Goren said. “He’s very quiet but he’s really smart. It took me a little while to get to know him. He’s a great young man, very mature. He improved a lot the second half of last year. Selfishly, I was excited to see him his senior year at Wake but I told him he had to do what was best for him.”

Sarr will be a senior for coach John Calipari if he’s ruled eligible and will be on a team dominated by true freshmen. Kentucky’s last two graduate transfers, Reid Travis and Nate Sestina, have been terrific leaders and players.

“I think now he sees it is fun to be a leader,” Goren said. “I expect him to do that at Kentucky with no problem. He’s more confident, a better player. But he’s also ready to take on that leadership role and I think he will be fine.”

Goren has no doubt he will be fine on the court, too, if he’s ruled eligible.

“He was more of a finesse player when he got to Wake but he’s put on weight and added strength. He’s still not the biggest guy in the world, but he doesn’t back away from anybody,” Goren said.

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