Utah’s Jakob Poeltl will return to school for his sophomore season

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Utah’s Jakob Poeltl (AP Photo)

Utah announced on Monday morning that star center Jakob Poeltl will be returning to college for his sophomore season.

“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.”

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Poeltl had a chance to be a first round pick had he decided to declare for the draft, but that selection would have been based mostly on potential. A seven-foot native of Austria, Poeltl is long, athletic and mobile with terrific hands. He’s a shot-blocking presence at the rim and he was impressive at times working with Delon Wright in the pick-and-roll.

Poeltl averaged 9.1 points, 6.8 boards and 1.9 blocks this past season, and he posted 13.3 points, 5.7 boards and 3.0 blocks in three games in the NCAA tournament this past season.

Getting Poeltl back is huge for Utah, who will have a chance to remain among the best teams in the Pac-12. They lose Wright, an all-american, and big man Dallin Bachynski, but they return Poeltl and Brandon Taylor, along with the terrific recruiting class that Larry Krystkowiak brought in last season.

“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.”