The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Basketball: Poeltl forgoes the NBA, returns for sophomore season



After patrolling the paint and altering shots during Utah’s Sweet Sixteen run in March, there’s arguably not one person in the entire tournament that saw their draft stock rise as much as Ute big man Jakob Poeltl’s did.

The seven footer saw his name rise in nearly every mock draft, with draft websites slotting him to go anywhere from late first round to as high as the lottery. Many speculated what the Austrian center would do, but Poeltl answered all remaining questions on Monday morning when he announced that he would return to the Runnin’ Utes for his sophomore season.

“I really enjoy it here at the University of Utah,” Poeltl said in a press release. “I love my teammates, coaches and college in general. I think another year will help my development and I’m looking forward to next season.

Coming from a country where basketball isn’t a priority, it was hard to predict the impact that the former freshman would have in his first season in America. But to head coach Larry Krystkowiak’s delight, Poeltl didn’t just have an impact, but was instrumental in the Runnin’ Utes 26-9 season.

And he received national attention for it, too. In addition to being named a semifinalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award, Poeltl ranked fourth nationally in field-goal percentage and third in the Pac-12 in blocked shots, both freshman records for Utah. According to his head coach though, Poeltl has a lot more room to grow.

“Jakob had a solid freshman season for us and made great strides but there is no doubt in my mind that his best basketball is ahead of him,” Krystkowiak said in the press release. “He is driven, intelligent and an elite athlete. I’m excited he has faith in our program to turn the words ‘potential’ and ‘project’ into ‘proven’ and possibly ‘prize.’”

Poeltl went through pre-draft process just like every other prospect, and “received positive feedback” for both decisions. He had all the information and evaluations laid out in front of him, but in the end, Poeltl had to make a decision he felt comfortable with by “going with his gut.”

Now that the decision is made and over with, Poeltl and company can now put their full attention on the 2015-16 season for the Utes. After a successful run to Houston last season, Krystkowiak said that Poeltl is already coming up with ideas for his sophomore year, despite the decision just being made.

“One of my favorite parts of this story is that immediately after informing us of his return, he starting talking about our goals for next year’s team,” Krystkowiak stated in the release. “He went from ‘me’ to ‘we’ pretty darn quick and that’s our culture.”

[email protected]


Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *