LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Former Wake Forest center Olivier Sarr said Wednesday he is transferring to Kentucky, giving the Wildcats an experienced 7-footer after the team's entire starting lineup declared for the NBA draft.

“He gives us a veteran, established player who has not only played on a big stage and played well, he wants this next challenge,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in a statement.

Sarr, a 255-pound junior from France, told ESPN last week he had entered the transfer portal. In his announcement on Twitter, he called former Demon Deacons coach Danny Manning and his staff “family” and added, “I just didn’t feel like I could be at my best by returning to Wake Forest.”

Sarr will have one season of eligibility remaining. He would have to sit out the 2020-21 season under NCAA transfer rules, but Kentucky said Sarr will seek a waiver for immediate eligibility because of the coaching change at Wake Forest.

Manning was fired 11 days ago and replaced last week by Steve Forbes, who spent the previous five seasons coaching at East Tennessee State. Forbes said after taking the job that he hoped to retain Sarr and other players recruited by Manning.

Sarr was the Demon Deacons' second-leading scorer (13.7 points per game) and top rebounder (9.0) last season and made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference third team. He joins a Kentucky program that lost eight players from its roster but will welcome another highly rated recruiting class this fall.


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