Welcome to the inaugural piece of the “Spurs Rookie Roundup”. This column will cover the three San Antonio Spurs rookies weekly throughout the offseason and regular season.
While we currently have no actual games, expect a series of videos, photos, or any news compiled here for you to read. Once the season begins, I will provide you with the performances of each rookie every week, along with any news-related content on them that I see come across my feed.
So without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling.
Rookie Games Spark Controversy
Jeremy Sochan joined the Spurs as the ninth pick in this year’s NBA Draft, but couldn’t show off his talents to fans this offseason because of COVID-19 and subsequent health precautions. An intriguing two-way player who’s expected to be a critical piece of the Spurs’ core. Despite not touching the court yet, the rookie still made headlines during the NBA Summer League.
Listen to the first thing that came to Jeremy Sochan’s mind when he heard “Russel Westbrook” 😅
(via bleacherreport/IG) pic.twitter.com/zyFmV9DVPW
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 17, 2022
Playing a guessing game with fellow Spurs rookie Malaki Branham, Branham gave the hint, “Russell Westbrook get’em a lot.” Sochan innocently replied, “Bricks,” to which both players laughed after his remark. The wrong answer, Sochan quickly changed his response to “triple-doubles” which was correct.
The video unfortunately caught wind on NBA Twitter. Some NBA players and fans took it the wrong way and bashed Sochan for it. Afterward, he said that he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, it was just friendly banter. He even later tweeted that Westbrook has been his idol since “day one”, and his dog is named Russell after him.
(I thought it was funny and saw no harm. Every friend roasts their buddies here and there, so why can’t Sochan?)
Sochan Takes on London
As we all know, Sochan is another international prospect this franchise loves drafting, based on their history. Last week, Sochan visited NBA 3X London, a three-on-three tournament, and took time to chop it up with some fans. He even snagged a photo with a Spurs fan, according to photos shared by Hoopsfix.
— Hoopsfix (@Hoopsfix) July 28, 2022
Before his appearance in the overseas basketball world, Sochan was spotted by a broadcast booth at the UFC London fight in the O2 Arena, which featured heavyweights Curtis Blaydes versus Tom Aspinall as the main event.
Lastly, before returning to the United States, Sochan spent some time with the Milton Keynes Basketball Club. While there, he presented junior player Jade Upton with a personalized Spurs hat.
Branham Has Stayed Quiet Despite Shining In Vegas
Yes, he, Sochan, and Blake Wesley did visit the infamous Urban Necessities shoe store during their time in Las Vegas. Outside of that, Branham was all business. I wanted to spill some unique content to you all instead of flooding you all with more game highlights but, alas, here we are.
Arguably the biggest star on the Spurs Las Vegas Summer League team this year, Branham showed enough flashes to make some fans say, “This guy deserves playing time right away.”
"I felt like I was a kid in a candy store."
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 19, 2022
I’m on the side of giving Branham time in Austin to let him develop his game. Still, he does appear mostly ready for San Antonio too. I understand if head coach Gregg Popovich elects to give him playing time at the NBA level so he can gain real-time reps.
Diving into his personal channels, I couldn’t find anything that he’s been up to. Still, maybe it’s a good thing that I can’t find any material on Branham. That would be “very Spurs-like” for him to be lowkey on social media, highlighting his culture fit already.
Blake Wesley Has Been Training & Adding New Ink
Lastly, we have the Notre Dame guard Wesley who was selected 25th overall by the Spurs in the June draft.
While Wesley gave a fire taste of what fans should expect in the future during the Summer League, he did show his flaws. At times he was careless with the ball, he’d take unnecessary shots, and showed he needs to add some muscle. Well rest assured, Spurs fans, as Wesley is putting in work as he shared in pictures from his workout on Instagram. (Let’s get it, Wesley!)
This summer, Wesley made an appearance on the Jim Rome Show, where he noted how blessed he has been for this path month to get drafted by the franchise. He also mentioned the chip he has on his shoulder for being drafted so late. Wesley further added that in his pre-draft workout with the Spurs, his mindset was “to go kill and show the Spurs what he was about.”
Remembering where he came from, Wesley has also gotten a 574 area code tatted on his left calf in recognition of his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, which honestly looks pretty fresh. No, tattoos won’t elevate his game. Still, I always think it was cool to see players always represent their hometown with art on their bodies.
I hope you enjoyed the inaugural “Spurs Rookie Roundup.” Next time, I will try to be a better social media detective and possibly mix things up. I promise, once the season gets started, there will be some weekly SPICY content.