In far-away Macedonia, a baller, who played in the 2013 FIBA (The International Basketball Federation) Europe Under-18 Championship caught the attention of Andy Hill, a University of Utah sports assistant after he watched his 15-rebound performance in his team’s opening game of the tournament. That kid is today, a National Association of Basketball pro – Jakob Poeltl or written more appropriately as Jakob Pöltl.
Jakob has since set foot on American soil and made himself a household name where basketball is concerned. He has notably named a consensus second-team All-American, won the Pete Newell Big Man Award and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, all in his college days after which he entered the NBA as the ninth overall pick. Here’s more about him.
Jakob Poeltl: Biography, Age
Under the Libra Sun sign, Jakob Poeltl was born in Vienna, Austria on October 15, 1995, to parents who were both volleyball players in the Austrian national volleyball teams. There are no in-depth records of his family, but it is known that he has a sister named Miriam while the name of his mom is Martina Poeltl and that of his dad is Rainer Ömer.
Though his parents were professional volleyball players, they chose basketball for Jakob as there was an organized youth basketball program close to their home for him to enroll in. Thus, this was how he ventured into basketball from a volleyball inclined family. As Jakob Poeltl came of age, he became a member of the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions which slugs it out in the Austrian Bundesliga.
The lad had an amazing 2013/14 season, recording 12.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and a block per game of 2.3. For his talent, he was not found wanting on his country’s youth basketball team where he notably represented Austria and participated in the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. Following Jakob’s impressive performance in the tournament, Andy Hill; a University of Utah sports assistant who traveled to Macedonia where the tournament was held in southeastern Europe, thought him deserving to develop his balling skills further in America.
At this stage of his young life, Poeltl had the option of going pro in Europe, America or pursuing his college degree. But, as a wise person, he knew he wasn’t entirely ready to be become a professional B-ball player, just as he also valued the importance of getting a degree and at the same time improve his basketball skills. America was a better option as there were colleges (the University of Utah in particular) that could offer the best of both to him. Thus, he committed to play college basketball for the Utah Utes men’s basketball team in 2014 after he had already begun enjoying a relationship with their coaching staff.
With the Utah Utes’ Jakob Poeltl played for two seasons (2014/15 and 2015/16) from which he played and started a total of 70 games recording a free throw percentage of .605, blocks per game of 1.7, and a field goal percentage of .658 as a center. The Austrian baller won a couple of awards in his sophomore season after which he decided to forego the final two years of his college eligibility and thus, enter the 2016 NBA Draft.
The Toronto Raptors brought in Jakob Poeltl to their side as the 9th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft which was held on June 23, 2016. After signing his rookie contract, he was sent to the Raptors D-League affiliate – Raptors 905 where he spent a very short time before getting back to the main team.
The lad played a total of 136 games for the Ontario-based side from which he recorded a free-throw percentage of .576, blocks per game of .9, rebounds per game of 4.1, and a field goal percentage of .641.
After two seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Jakob was traded with DeMar DeRozan on July 18, 2018, to pursue their career with San Antonio Spurs as Toronto got a protected 2019 first-round draft pick, in addition to Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in exchange. Jakob’s NBA career is still in its infancy and with time, he is expected to blossom into one of the best players in the league if not dominating the sports for a long time coming.
At 7 feet 0 inches or 2.13 m, weighing 230 lbs or 104 kg, Jakob Poeltl is indeed a big man on the court. Despite his towering height, the Austrian baller is quite nimble with excellent ball-handling skills and an ability to convert many short-range shots with any of his hands.