The San Antonio Spurs’ first selection of the 2022 NBA draft is probably their most interesting pick since drafting Tim Duncan in 650 B.C. Jeremy Sochan of Poland, a Polish national who also played a season of basketball at Baylor University, was selected with the ninth overall pick. That’s the earliest pick the Spurs have had since taking Duncan way back when.
Being a top-ten pick carries some weight, especially with San Antonio. Including this year, the Spurs have had a top-ten pick just five times since 1987. Three of those picks were Duncan, Sean Elliott, and David Robinson, all of whom were eventually enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. That alone makes the drafting of Sochan interesting, as there will be a spotlight on him for at least a few years. What also makes Sochan interesting is that despite playing a season at a major Big 12 basketball school, he feels like a bit of an unknown due to playing most of his youth basketball overseas in Europe.
Interesting Facts About Jeremy Sochan
- Baylor was 25-2 when Sochan played in his only year at Baylor
- He only started one game at Baylor. (Sochan did earn the Big 12 Sixth-Man of the Year award though.)
- At 18 years of age, he was the youngest player to ever represent the Polish national basketball team.
- Sochan is confirmed to speak at least two languages – English and Polish
- En route to Poland winning the 2019 FIBA U16 European Championship in Division B, Sochan averaged 16.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.1 steals, 3.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.
- Sochan helped the Polish U-16 team beat Norway 108-39 in August 2020. Yeesh.
Jeremy Sochan Passed the Smell Test at the NBA Combine
When asked about the experience of interviewing with NBA teams at the draft combine earlier this year, Sochan listed smelling good as one of the most important things to ensure a successful interview.
I planned to ask him more about this while covering the FIBA Eurobasket Tournament in Berlin, but Sochan did not participate. Instead, he is busy preparing for his rookie NBA season, though Poland could have used him. The Polish squad was dismissed by the French team in the semifinals, 95-54.
An Animal Lover
In that same draft combine interview, Sochan mentioned that he was looking forward to visiting the Chicago Zoo. Unfortunately, it rained the day he planned to visit and Sochan ended up canceling the trip. Luckily for Sochan, San Antonio also has a zoo.
Can we get the mayor to name an animal after Sochan?
Jeremy Sochan Needs a Nickname
At Baylor, Sochan earned the nickname “Concussion Protocol” but not for the reason you might suspect. I can’t find any record of him having to leave a game after suffering a concussion. According to Sochan’s teammates, however, he earned the moniker because the errant full-court shots he’d put up in shootaround were so off-target that people feared he’d knock someone else out.
Something to look out for if you turn up early for a game at the AT&T Center this season…
He Isn’t Big On Twitter
Sochan isn’t very active on social media, which may be welcome to Spurs fans still seething in the aftermath of Dejounte Murray’s trade to the Atlanta Hawks. He started a Twitter account in April 2019, and although he retweeted several tweets, Sochan didn’t write his own first tweet until May 2020. That was apparently when he decided the world needed to know that he was hungry to prove himself as a baller. “Yes, I know rankings don’t matter,” he wrote,” and they don’t affect me! However I know I am one of the top players. Mark my words! #imhungry.”
Due to the Spurs’ lack of depth and apparent commitment to the youth movement, we can expect to see a lot of Sochan on the court in his rookie season. Regardless of how it turns out, San Antonio needs to do him one solid. Can we please please please commit to finding a better nickname than “Concussion Protocol” for him?
Thanks for reading, please be kind to each other out there.
Fiesta Shorts is a new weekly series on Project Spurs. Before the 2022-2023 NBA season, Fiesta Shorts, “A totally non-serious Spurs blog” existed as a Substack and newsletter, and you can find old posts here. Now, and going forward, you’ll find Fiesta Shorts on Project Spurs, and we (a.k.a. Fiesta Shorts a.k.a. Trace a.k.a. the author) are stoked about it!