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Top 10 2014-15 Utah athletes: #5 Jakob Poeltl

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A year ago Ute fans knew very little about Jakob Poeltl. He was from Austria and 7-feet tall. That was about the extent of what Poeltl brought to the table. Most if not everyone, had no idea how to pronounce his last name. By the end of the season, Poeltl rolled off the tongue easily for everyone. He was a recruiting victory for coach Larry Krystkowiak, as Poeltl had picked the Utes over Pac-12 foes Arizona and Cal.

Poeltl's game, which he brought from the Europe at the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions, translated well to to the college game at Utah, and Jakob found his way into the starting lineup, supplanting senior Dallin Bachynski. Poeltl wasn't as much a force for the Utes in the scoring category, but rebounding was his strong suit. Something the Utes were missing a season before. He did, however struggle mightily at the free throw stripe.

One could see that he was a developing teenager with a tremendous upside. There were times that he looked like he was good enough that we would only be at Utah the one season before heading to the NBA, but there were other times that one could tell he had some work to do.

Jakob spent most of the season in the shadow of Delon Wright. Despite the spotlight being focused on Wright, Poeltl was tremendous for the Utes. His presence in the defensive key, caused the opposition headaches, and his blocking and rebounding skills on the defensive end was something the Utes haven't had for a decade - since the days of Andrew Bogut.

Jakob Poeltl had the chance to show what he could do versus Jahlil Okafor matchup in the Sweet 16, and also an opportunity to show his skills the country on a national stage. Okafor was one of the top players in college basketball in 2014-15, and many believed that he would be the top draft pick in the NBA draft. Poeltl was able to hold his own against Okafor, despite the bigger bodied center from Duke. His play in that game opened the eyes of many, and he seemed destined for the NBA.

Surprisingly, he decided to stick around with the Utes for another season. The 2014-15 season was a great one, and Jakob Poeltl has the opportunity to be the star player for the Utes this upcoming season.