A talented seven-footer from Austria took the college basketball scene by storm this season for the Utah Utes, and his name is Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl will be a sophomore if he returns to college, but one thing is for certain: he is ready for the NBA and the NBA is ready for him.
He is a gifted scorer who plays smart and is a terrific shot-blocker. Poeltl showed all season long that he knows how to play with some of the best players in the country, and in the tournament he did a fantastic defensive job on Jahlil Okafor, who might go No. 1 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Poeltl held Okafor to only six points in the Sweet 16 matchup between Utah and Duke, and the Ute still managed to score 10 points and take down eight rebounds. Poeltl’s showing throughout the NCAA tournament was impressive. He showed that he can score against anyone and still be a shutdown defender at the same time, which is something that NBA scouts love to see.
At times during this season Poeltl did struggle on the offensive end, and sometimes you would not even realize he was on the floor. But during the last few weeks of the season, he made sure you knew he was on the court.
Poeltl could return to Utah and dominate the Pac-12, but right now his stock is way too high to turn down the NBA, especially after his great showing in the NCAA tourney. Many teams in the NBA would be happy to take a risk on Poeltl because of his upside his readiness to be a great NBA defender. That’s a gamble any franchise should be willing to take.