Hannes Pöllä didn’t have the typical freshman move-in experience. While most newcomers to the University of Oklahoma transition to life on campus in early August, Pöllä’s move into Headington Hall was just another stop on a three-week, 25,000 mile journey over three continents and five countries.
The second European student-athlete to play for Lon Kruger at Oklahoma, Pöllä grew up in Finland and has spent considerable time playing for a Finnish National Team over the past few years. Pöllä’s international success earned him a starting role on Finland’s U20 squad at the 2017 U20 European Division B Championship. The center averaged 10.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks as he helped his home country go 5-2 in the tournament.
From the FIBA event, held in Romania, Pöllä returned to Finland to grab his belongings before moving to Norman. Arriving at OU at the start of August, Pöllä wasn’t in Norman for long. He had enough time for a few practices with his new team before once again traveling across the world – this time representing the Crimson and Cream.
Pöllä and the Sooners went 4-0 during their foreign tour to New Zealand and Australia as Pöllä. Still adjusting to the new squad, Pöllä only played 11.0 minutes per game - but still racked up 7.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per outing while shooting 14-of-16 (.875).
Now that he’s here, Pöllä offers Kruger a unique piece on the Sooner roster. At 6-11 and weighing 265 pounds, Pöllä’s size gives Oklahoma a force in the post who can create offensive mismatches while serving as a wall on defense.
“I'm a powerful, tough big man that plays in the low post and can take mid-range jumpers,” said Pöllä. “I play defense by using my size. In everything I'm a big man, from rebounding to my size and strength.”
Pöllä has continued to adjust throughout his short time in Norman. His next step comes Monday when he and the entire team begin preseason practice.