Utah basketball got big news today with the announcement that 7-foot freshman phenom Jakob Poeltl will return for his sophomore season (2015-16 season). Getting Poeltl back is huge news for the Runnin' Utes since he is the best center on the team, especially with Dallin Bachynski graduating.
"I really enjoy it here at the University of Utah," Poeltl said. "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."
Poeltl, a semifinalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award, was named to the Pac-12's All-Freshman Team after shooting 68 percent from the field (4th nationally) and ranking third in the league in blocked shots. Both of his totals in those categories set new freshman marks for the Runnin' Utes.
"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," head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "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 applied to the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee for an evaluation of his NBA Draft potential
"During this process I talked to a lot of people, including my family and coaches," Poeltl added. "I received positive feedback about both options but in the end, this was a gut decision on my part. I want to come back to gain experience. I think I can elevate my game a little more before facing the challenges of playing in the NBA."
"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. "He went from `me' to `we' pretty darn quick and that's our culture."
The Runnin' Utes made the Sweet 16 this past season, and with Poeltl back, they have a great shot to do it again next season.