Geelong has won the raced for highly-rated former basketballer Paul Tsapatolis, according to AFL Media’s Mitch Cleary.
Several clubs have shown interest in the 202cm teenager, with Sydney, North Melbourne, Melbourne and Adelaide all recently expressing their desire to sign him as a Category B rookie.
But according to the report, it was Essendon who also made a late play for the prodigious talent before he settled on the Cats.
Tsapatolis, 18, will reportedly sign a two-year deal with Geelong, providing important ruck backup behind Rhys Stanley.
Last year, Tsapatolis was part of the Australian side who won gold at the FIBA Under 17 Oceania Championships in New Caledonia.
As part of Category B rookie rules – which allows clubs to sign players who haven’t played football for at least three years – Tsapatolis will be paid outside of the salary cap.
He played junior football with the likes of Collingwood’s Jay Rantall and Melbourne’s Luke Jackson, before originally turning his attention to basketball.
It caps off an exciting off-season for Geelong, who recruited forward Jeremy Cameron, winger Isaac Smith and midfielder Shaun Higgins during the trade and free agency period.