On Thursday night, Toronto Raptors overcame a 22-point deficit to get a valuable road win over Philadelphia 76ers. Prior to the 114-109 win, Austrian big man of the Raptors, Jakob Poeltl, gave an exclusive interview to TrendBasket.
%41 üçlük, %58 saha içi isabeti, 65 sayı… Şu ana kadar @sixers için çilek tadında bir akşam oluyor. @Raptors‘da DeMar DeRozan 24 sayı kaydetti ancak ev sahibi soyunma odasına 65-52 üstün girdi. #TBHerYerde https://t.co/CKQdzQUGFE
— TrendBasket (@TrendBasket) 22 Aralık 2017
Jakob, last season, coming off your rookie season, you just averaged 3 PPG and 3 RPG. But now, you’re in bigger role. You’re in the rotation, coming from the bench for Valanciunas and things like that. What did you do in your offseason to help you improve your game for your sophomore year?
Well, I did a lot. I played some with the national team, played the summer league; we had a lot of team workouts. I had some workouts by myself in Austria and Germany. I think I put in a lot of work this offseason. I really didn’t have much time off.
And when you look at it, I think it was October actually, you had 11 offensive rebounds versus Golden State. It was a close game, you guys lost by four, 117-113. Going to that game, you know, you’re playing the likes of Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia, and JaVale McGee. When you’re playing against those guys, it’s not easy to actually crash the boards. Despite the loss, were you happy with your performance at the end of the game or no?
I would say I was happy with my personal performance. Obviously, we didn’t close out the game like we wanted to because we definitely had an opportunity to win that game. But yeah, it was a tough one against a really talented team, and we just got to be able to move on from this.
You’re Austrian, the first Austrian international to ever play in the NBA. But despite going the route of the Euroleague, you actually came over to the states, got recruited by the University of Utah, and played D1 ball for two years. Looking back on it, do you think that you prepare better for the NBA? You did come across a few NBA prospects compared to playing in the Euroleague and getting drafted. What route do you think was better for you looking back on it?
Honestly, I don’t like looking back on it because it worked out the way it was for me. I had a really good time in Utah, so I don’t want to look back on my decisions and I think everybody needs to find their own way in what’s best for them, what play style fits them the most, and make their decisions from there.
31 games into the season, Poeltl has averaged 7.1 points on shooting %67.1 from the field, 4.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks in 17.3 minutes per game for the Raptors (23-8).
Now, you and [Domantas] Sabonis both did that. But, Sabonis played a little bit of Euroleague. Are you guys close at all friendwise? Both being European?
Actually, I met him during the draft and the draft process. I wouldn’t say we’re very close, but everytime I see him I’m very friendly with him.
.@JacobPoeltl of the @Raptors talked about 🇦🇹 basketball’s present and future, as well as his efforts to put his country into basketball map. More of him coming up… #TBExclusive pic.twitter.com/LFj6grXngB
— TrendBasketEN (@TrendBasketEN) 24 Aralık 2017
Being the first Austrian international like I said, should we as reporters, fans, and things like that, look toward Austria now for prospects coming up in the future in your opinion?
Well, I sure hope so. I’m trying to push basketball in Austria. It’s still not a main sport, but it’s definitely coming up and we’re getting a lot better. I’m hoping there’s going to be a lot more talents coming out of Austria.
Lastly, as a fan, a question for the fans actually. Do you watch the Euroleague at all and if so, do you have any favorite players or teams over there or no?
I don’t watch it anymore. I used when I was back home in Austria. Now, our schedule is so busy and I’m trying to focus on NBA basketball.