Wildcats sign shooting Sarr

Photo: Overtime Elite

The Perth Wildcats have signed their first ever Next Star with French big man Alexandre Sarr joining the NBL for the 2024 season.

The seven-foot-one Sarr comes to Australia after two seasons in America’s Overtime Elite (OTE) development league in Atlanta. He is currently ranked at 17 in ESPN’s 2024 NBA mock draft.

Sarr will arrive in Perth in July as the Wildcats prepare for the NBL24 season starting in late-September. He says he can’t wait to get to Perth.

“It feels great, it’s a new experience for me, I’ve never been near Australia before but I can’t wait to take on the challenge,” he said.

“I’ve really liked what I’ve seen when I’ve watched some Wildcats games, the way they play, RAC Arena and the fans are crazy, and I just wanted to be a part of it and build my own legacy through it.”

“I’m looking forward to getting on the court with my teammates and competing and trying to do my best every day.”

He becomes the second new Next Star the league will have this season, with American AJ Johnson joining the Illawarra Hawks. Along with returning German big Ariel Hukporti, who is coming back after a season ending achilles injury in NBL23.

Sarr signed with Real Madrid at 14 to play with their youth team but moved to the United States in 2021 to join OTE and develop through that pathway.

Sarr has been a staple in France’s youth teams. Representing Les Bleu at U16 and U17 levels. He most recently represented France at the 2022 U17 World Cup, winning a bronze medal, averaging 12 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.

Head coach John Rillie says his versatility is what made him interested in the French prospect.

“Alex’s youth, athleticism and potential is what attracted us, those were attributes we want to address in the off-season,” Rillie said.

“He will bring length, rim protection and a dimension to our defence we haven’t had, his natural offensive skills will be a natural fit.”

“Securing a Next Star is something the club has been looking at over the last couple of seasons and we feel Alex ticks the boxes that we are looking for in a Next Star.”

The Sarr family has a strong basketball history. Olivier Sarr, Alex’s brother, is currently contracted to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a two-way contract. While their father, Massar played professional basketball in France.

Wildcats’ GM of Basketball Danny Mills is thrilled with Sarr joining the Wildcats.

“This is an extremely exciting signing for the club to be able to secure an elite talent like Alexandre as a Next Star for next season,” he said.

“His combination of size, skill and high-level basketball IQ at his age is incredibly unique and why he is on the draft boards of every NBA team as a projected first round pick for the 2024 Draft.”

“We are thrilled that Alex and his family have chosen the Perth Wildcats as the best environment for him to continue the next stage of career, and it speaks volumes about how the club is viewed globally and the work that John (Rillie) and the staff do in developing players to reach their potential.”

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