YB WEB DESK. Dated: 2/15/2020 10:56:23 AM

Jakob Poeltl

Jakob Pöltl is an Austrian professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Utah Utes. In his sophomore year, Pöltl was a consensus secondteam All-American, and won the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and Pete Newell Big Man Award as the top collegiate center and low-post player, respectively. After the season, he declared for the 2016 NBA draft, where the Toronto Raptors selected him in the first round with the ninth overall pick. Early life Pöltl was born in Vienna, Austria. Both his parents were members of the Austrian national volleyball teams. His parents opted for basketball because there was a youth basketball program near their Vienna home during his childhood. He played one year for the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions of the Austrian Bundesliga in 2013–14. College recruitment Pöltl was relatively unknown in the United States until the 2013 FIBA Europe Under- 18 Championship. University of Utah assistant Andy Hill went to the tournament, held in Macedonia, largely to scout potential prospects from other teams; he only saw Austria's opening game against the Netherlands because he vowed to watch all 38 teams in person. After seeing Pöltl's 15-rebound performance, Hill began sounding Pöltl out for potential interest in playing college basketball in the United States. Pöltl went on to average a double-double in points and rebounds during the tournament and was named to the second alltournament team, despite Austria going 1–6 and finishing 20th out of 22 teams in the second-level Division B. Pöltl began drawing interest from several NCAA Division I programs, forcing him to decide between a professional career and a U.S. college education. In a 2014 interview, Pöltl revealed part of his decision-making process.


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