Arkadia Traiskirchen general manager Helmut Niederhofer told The Tribune on Wednesday that the University of Utah’s newest commit was “one of the biggest talents in Austria” last year, his first in the country’s top division.
Seven-footer Jakob Poeltl, 18, “came from nowhere, and instead of developing slow, he was immediately making an impact,” Niderhofer said.
Niederhofer said he watched Poeltl play for three years and felt that he would have been able to play in the first division one year earlier, but “his main thing was going to school,” he said. “He didn’t practice much until now. “
Poeltl’s parents were both volleyball players, Niederhofer said, and his mom played for the national team.
Niederhofer said Poeltl’s greatest physical strengths are his timing on rebounding and shot blocking. In his only season at the top level for the Lions, he averaged 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 72.2 percent from the field.
But above all, “what makes him strong is he has a very, very good mind,” Niederhofer said. “He learns very, very quick, he listens very good. He understands what the coach wants from him.”
Poeltl adds to a U. recruiting class that already included Brekkott Chapman, Kyle Kuzma, Isaiah Wright and Chris Reyes. He has not yet signed with the U., and thus Utah coaches are prohibited from discussing him.
Niederhofer said that not only will Poeltl succeed on the court, but he’ll present no problems for the Utes off of it.
“He’s no party guy,” Niederhofer said. “He’s a very serious, nice guy who knows what he wants.”
— Matthew Piper