« Men’s Basketball 2020-21

Olivier Sarr

School

University of Kentucky

Position
Forward
Major
Communication

Classroom

Sarr is pursuing a degree in communication and is on track to graduate in May of 2021. He owns a 3.34 combined grade-point average between his time at Wake Forest and Kentucky. Sarr earned All-ACC Academic Team accolades three times and has been a Dean’s List member every semester.

Character

Sarr is from France and English is not his first language, taking several months to get acclimated. Sarr points to being quiet in the locker room because he didn’t understand the language and the learning curve on the court was equally as challenging. Sarr was not a highly-touted recruit and played limited minutes with his French clubs, his first consistent minutes as a player coming his freshman season at Wake Forest. Adding to the challenges, cultural differences from America and France proved difficult, even something as simple as when you ate dinner being an adjustment. In his native France, dinnertime often was no earlier than 8 p.m. and meals with in America were often no later than 6 p.m.

Adding to the adversity Sarr has faced was the firing of his head coach Danny Manning just after he had decided to return to college for his senior season. Sarr had grown close to Manning and looked to him as a father figure since he spent limited time with his family and made few trips home to France. Without Manning, Sarr pursued other opportunities for his final season and transferred to Kentucky.

Sarr has big plans for life after basketball, including being inspired to give back to Senegal, his Dad’s native country. Sarr spent most summers with family in Senegal as a youth. Sarr aspires to build a school or provide aid to hospitals to better the life in a place that means so much to him.

Community

At Wake Forest, Sarr engaged in nearly 100 hours of community service. Some of his favorite projects include: “Project Pumpkin,” which was a Halloween-themed carnival for kids, “Hit the Bricks,” a run to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, “Campus Kitchens” where he would deliver meals to needy neighborhoods, and his visits to the local children’s hospital. The hospital visits are what he lists as the most meaningful to him as he interacted with patients and families of children faced with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has halted a number of traditional Kentucky community service projects, but Sarr and his teammates did participate in the annual Christmas drive where the team – with the support of the Caliparis and local businesses – selects around 10-12 families to provide food, gifts, rent checks and other needs to identified families.

Competition

Sarr has appeared in more than 90 collegiate games and scored more than 725 points and hauled in more than 525 rebounds after playing his first three seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to Kentucky. Sarr was a third team All-ACC selection and the runner-up for the ACC Most Improved Player award in 2019-20. Sarr was a two-time ACC Player of the Week as a junior and became the 12th player in Wake Forest history to earn the award multiple times in a single season.

Sarr was also tabbed to the Wooden Legacy All-Tournament Team as a junior after averaging 17.0 points and 11.7 rebounds over three games at the tournament. Sarr has topped double-figure scoring in more than 25 career games and has totaled 10-plus double-doubles.