College basketball doesn’t normally see national championship-shifting personnel moves this late in the offseason, but Kentucky receiving a waiver for Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr — and Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin — to play immediately this season potentially fits the bill. The Wildcats’ national title odds got shorter and they rose from No. 12 to No. 5 in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings.
But is all that warranted?
I talked to coaches in the ACC, SEC and around the country to get a feel for how Sarr will impact Kentucky and how the Wildcats might stack up heading into the season.
Sarr’s impact on Kentucky
Sarr, a 7-foot center from France, was a third-team All-ACC performer last season at Wake Forest, averaging 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds. He was dominant late in the season, scoring 25 points in a win over Duke and following that up with 30 points and 17 rebounds against Notre Dame.
He was my No. 1 transfer last spring, and he’s being counted on to make an immediate impact for Kentucky and start at the five spot.