Jeremy Sochan enters the draft with a unique life experience at just 19 years old.
He was born in the United States to his Polish mother and American father – both college basketball players – and spent his early years living in England. He played the equivalent of high school basketball in England, joined La Lumiere training center (La Porte, Indiana) but COVID cut his year off. Then, he went to Germany and played club basketball and then played for the Polish national team, helping Poland qualify for Eurobasket 2022, shortly before joining Baylor for his freshman season in 2021-22.
“Traveling all over Europe to play, I think it really opened my eyes and I really saw a lot of coaches, different types of experiences,” Sochan told USA TODAY Sports. “I learned from that and it’s good enough for me. I think it’s fun to experience all these different cultures and I think it really influenced me on and off the pitch.”
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Sochan is an expected lottery pick that could make it into the top-10.
“For me, it’s just being drafted in the right situation,” he said. “But on the other hand, you can’t control the draft or what happens during draft night and you can only control yourself. So wherever I am enlisted, all I know is that I will work hard and improve myself every day and then I will also help the people around me improve. So just being able to stay in the present is important to me. “
In his only season at Baylor, the Sochan weighing 6-9 230 pounds was the big 12 sixth man of the year to play the starting minutes. He averages 9.2 points and 6.4 rebounds and on a balanced team where no player averages over 13.8 points.
It has several tools that NBA teams look for in a striker: size, length, speed, the ability to defend multiple positions. He is a skilled scorer within the 3-point line, but he needs to improve his 3-point shot. To that end, he focused on shooting and ball management during his pre-draft preparation.
“I think (my game) translates really well,” Sochan said. “First of all, I think the big word for me is versatility. On the defensive, offensive, I feel that I will be able to have a really good impact on the game. In defense, I will be versatile and will be able to go from one to five. … Then, in attack, I feel I can have an impact on the game, directing for myself or for others, and then simply doing the right thing to shoot, bounce, pass, dribble. “
If you’ve watched the NBA playoffs, versatile defenders have been instrumental in how far their teams have advanced. Think Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo. There are so many talented offensive players and teams doing pick-and-roll to create favorable matches, elite defenders need to limit those mismatches.
“This is one of the most important positions in the NBA right now,” said Sochan.
He spent time talking to NBA players and preparing for the mental and physical strain of an 82-game season. Sochan also works on the spiritual and philosophical side of him. In May, he was reading Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” – a favorite book of NBA players – and had just purchased a hard copy of “Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee,” by Lee’s daughter. Shannon Lee.
“I think it’s just that I have a great personality,” Sochan said. “I think I bring a lot of joy to the table, to the fans, to the team, to my teammates, to the coaches, to the organization … My goal in life is to help others too. So I feel that the NBA is opening up to me and having the chance to play in the NBA, I feel that I will be able to bring a lot of communities together. “