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A year ago as he tried to persuade his star player to return for one more season, Larry Krystkowiak told Jakob Poeltl he was "just scratching the surface" of his potential.

A season later, the league has seen Utah sophomore center reach new heights, culminating in his selection as the Pac-12's Player of the Year, as voted by the league's coaches.

Announced Monday evening, Poeltl became the ninth Ute to win a conference player of the year award in men's basketball, and the first in the Pac-12 era. Senior guard Brandon Taylor was also an individual award winner as the conference's scholar-athlete of the year.

While averaging 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and shooting 66 percent from the field during the regular season, Poeltl established himself as one of the conference's best players early, winning four Pac-12 Player of the Week awards during the season.

Poeltl is also turning heads around the country, popping up on USA Today's first team All-America list released on Monday morning. The 7-foot Austrian is among the final or semifinal candidates for the Wooden, Naismith, Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Awards.

"I have always said that individual awards are not really what I am [playing] for and I am more about the team," Poeltl said in a school news release. "I hope that our team is playing well, but being named the Pac-12 Player of the Year is a great honor."

Taylor — who was cited for his 3.4 cumulative GPA as a psychology major — was also named to the Pac-12 all-defensive team after making honorable mention for the team last year. Taylor was fourth in the league with 47 steals this season.

Both Taylor and senior forward Jordan Loveridge were voted honorable mention for all-conference honors.

Coach Larry Krystkowiak said Monday morning that he isn't a big fan of awards that are handed out before season's end — "this isn't the time to be patting guys on the back" — but that he is proud of Poeltl, who is among national leaders in rebounding, shooting percentage and double-doubles.

"It's a little bit daunting if you think about where we'd be without him," Krystkowiak said.

Poeltl ended the regular season as the league's No. 2 scorer, No. 3 rebounder, No. 5 shotblocker and No. 1 shooter. He's also boosted his stock as an NBA prospect, hovering in most experts' top 10 draft projections.

He finished strong: Over the weekend, Poeltl posted 16 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks against one of the Pac-12's other premier post players, Colorado's Josh Scott. He led the team in scoring and rebounding in the 57-55 win over the Buffaloes, which clinched Utah's outright second-place finish in league play.

"He played his tail off Saturday night — we didn't have that kind of effort from everybody," Krystkowiak said. "He was engaged, blocked some shots, did a lot against a real physical Colorado team that was trying to stop him."

Poeltl wasn't stopped often this year: He was held to single digits in only four games this season, two of which he played limited minutes in blowouts against Delaware State and Arizona State. Poeltl had 14 double-doubles, including seven in Pac-12 play.

With his selection, the Utes have had a first-team all-Pac-12 player for the past three seasons, with Delon Wright earning first-team honors each of the past two years. Poeltl made the league's all-freshman squad last year.

In the midst of some early offensive struggles this season, Taylor established himself as Utah's top perimeter defender with strong performances against players such as Washington's Andrew Andrews, Oregon State's Gary Payton II and UCLA's Bryce Alford. While Utah finished last in 3-point defense for the season, the team was fourth in conference-only statistics, with Taylor helping the team hold league opponents to 34 percent from beyond the arc.

First-place finisher Oregon had two first-team honorees in forwards Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook. Payton II and Colorado's Josh Scott repeated as previous first-team honorees. Andrews, Stanford's Rosco Allen, Arizona's Ryan Anderson, Cal's Jaylen Brown and USC's Julian Jacobs rounded out the 10-man first team list. Twitter: @kylegoon —

Poeltl by the numbers

Utah sophomore center Jakob Poeltl is up for several big honors after leading Utah in scoring, rebounding, blocks and shooting percentage:

• 17.5 points per game (No. 108 nationally, No. 2 in Pac-12)

• 9.1 rebounds per game (No. 51 nationally, No. 3 in Pac-12)

• 66 percent field goal percentage (No. 4 nationally, No. 1 in Pac-12)

• 1.6 blocks per game (No. 89 nationally, No. 5 in Pac-12)

• 14 double-doubles in the season (No. 27 nationally, No. 3 in Pac-12)

• USA Today first-team All American

• No. 7 on's Player of the Year rankings

• Finalist or semifinalist for Wooden, Naismith, Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar awards —


The full Pac-12 team, with individual honors to come Monday night:

First team

Name School Pos Yr Ht Wt Hometown (Last School)

Rosco Allen STAN F Sr. 6-9 220 Budapest, Hungary (Bishop Gorman HS)

Ryan Anderson ARIZ F Sr. 6-9 235 Long Beach, Calif. (Boston College)

Andrew Andrews WASH G Sr. 6-2 200 Portland, Ore. (Benson Tech HS)

Dillon Brooks ORE F So. 6-7 225 Mississauga, Ont. (Findlay Prep)

Jaylen Brown CAL F Fr. 6-7 225 Atlanta, Ga. (Wheeler HS)

Elgin Cook ORE F Sr. 6-6 205 Milwaukee, Wis. (Northwest Florida State)

Julian Jacobs USC G Jr. 6-4 180 Las Vegas, Nev. (Desert Pines HS)

Gary Payton II** OSU G Sr. 6-3 190 Seattle, Wash. (Salt Lake CC)

Jakob Poeltl UTAH F So. 7-0 248 Vienna, Austria (Arkadia Traiskirchen)

Josh Scott** COLO F Sr. 6-10 245 Monument, Colo. (Lewis-Palmer HS)

Second team

Name School Pos Yr Ht Wt Hometown (Last School)

Isaac Hamilton UCLA G Jr. 6-5 185 Los Angeles, Calif. (St. John Bosco HS)

Dejounte Murray WASH G Fr. 6-4 170 Seattle, Wash. (Rainier Beach HS)

Ivan Rabb CAL F Fr. 6-11 220 Oakland, Calif. (Bishop O'Dowd HS)

Kaleb Tarczewski ARIZ C Sr. 7-0 250 Claremont, N.H. (St. Mark's School)

Gabe York ARIZ G Sr. 6-3 190 West Covina, Calif. (Orange Lutheran HS)

Honorable Mention (receiving at least three votes): Bryce Alford (UCLA, Jr., G), Chris Boucher (ORE, Sr., F), Josh Hawkinson (WSU, Jr., F), Jordan Loveridge (UTAH, Sr., G), Jordan McLaughlin (USC, So., G), Brandon Taylor (UTAH, SR., G), Tyrone Wallace (CAL, Sr., G)

** two-time All-Pac-12 First Team honoree

Pac-12 All-Freshmen Team

Name School Pos Ht Wt Hometown (Last School)

Jaylen Brown CAL F 6-7 225 Atlanta, Ga. (Wheeler HS)

Tyler Dorsey ORE G 6-4 180 Los Angeles, Calif. (Maranatha HS)

Dejounte Murray WASH G 6-4 170 Seattle, Wash. (Rainier Beach HS)

Ivan Rabb CAL F 6-11 220 Oakland, Calif. (Bishop O'Dowd HS)

Allonzo Trier ARIZ G 6-6 210 Seattle, Wash. (Findlay Prep)

Honorable Mention (receiving at least three votes): Bennie Boatwright (USC, F), Marquese Chriss (WASH, F), Tres Tinkle (OSU, F)

Pac-12 All-Defensive Team

Name School Pos Yr. Ht Wt Hometown (Last School)

Chris Boucher ORE F Sr. 6-10 190 Montreal, Quebec (Northwest College, Wyo.)

Gary Payton II** OSU G Sr. 6-3 190 Seattle, Wash. (Salt Lake CC)

Josh Scott COLO F Sr. 6-10 245 Monument, Colo. (Lewis-Palmer HS)

Brandon Taylor UTAH G Sr. 5-10 170 Los Angeles, Calif. (Pacific Hills HS)

Kaleb Tarczewski ARIZ C Sr. 7-0 250 Claremont, N.H. (St. Mark's School)

Honorable Mention (receiving at least three votes): Malik Dime (WASH, Jr., F), Wesley Gordon (COLO, RJr., F), Jakob Poeltl (UTAH, So., F)