The English version of the article is brought to you by justforsport.pl – an expert in the design and merchandise production in sports.
Text was written before the actual draft, so there is some draft speculation included…
Spoiler warning: It really aged well.
Polish, original version of the article – HERE.
For the first time in history, Poland has a NBA player selected in the first round of the draft. In the past, only three polish players played in actual NBA game. What’s more, Sochan got selected in the Top10 of the draft – a spot reserved almost exclusively for players with whom teams have high hopes.
How can a boy brought up in three or even four different countries, a citizen of the world – as he says about himself – have a better start to his career than his polish predecessors, such as Maciek Lampe, Cezary Trybański and Marcin Gortat?
What is the reason why NBA teams were so interested in our compatriot?
Aren’t the expectations already over-inflated?
It is high time to talk about it.
The text is not the shortest, hence I am including a short table of contents:
- Biographical note – road to Baylor Bears and NBA draft
- Field profile:
- Video analysis
- Statistics, physical profile and character
- Which NBA player he resembles the most?
- Predictions for the draft – optimal places and what team he could realistically go to?
- Opinions of experts
OBLIGATORY BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
Jeremy Sochan was born on May 20, 2003 in Guymon, Oklahoma. His mother isa former Polonia Warszawa basketball player Aneta Sochan, and his biological father is the late Ryan Williams. Jeremy’s parents met when they both played NCAA Division II basketball at the same university – the Panhandle. Williams even played professionally in England for a while for the Reading Rockets and Bristol Flyers. Years later, he is described as a talented wingman flying over baskets, whose character and desire to compete made him a local fan favorite. He is said to have once attended a camp for NBA candidates. Jeremy’s sports roots do not end there – his grandfather Juliusz (after whom Jeremy has his second name) was a well-known basketball activist, among others the president of WOZKosz, and his great-grandfather Zygmunt – a soccer player for Warszawianka.
Jeremy grew up in England, but his links to Poland are strong – his great-grandfather’s football career was interrupted by the Second World War, during which he fought in the September campaign, was active in the underground resistance and was a prisoner in the Stutthof concentration camp. He survived the war and returned to sport – he became a coach and director of the Torwar sports arena. He is said to have instilled in his whole family his passion for sports and then ithas naturally spread throughout all subsequent generations. Even Jeremy’s aunt was an athlete, and the boy was simply destined to become an athlete as well.
Where did Jeremy come from in England? After living in the States, his mother returned to Poland for a while, but she didn’t want to give up being part of the „western world” anymore.
So she packed up and moved to the Islands, to Southampton. A few years later, she met her current partner there, also Jeremy’s Polish-born stepfather, Wiktor Lipiecki, and the family moved once again – to Milton Keynes. And there they stayed, while Jeremy and his brother, Zach were brought up in the spirit of sports and competition.
This is not, however, another story about parents whose more talented children pursue their unfulfilled dreams. The Sochan brothers were not developed for any particular sport – little Jeremy played as a goalkeeper (or central midfielder) in football, basketball, rugby, badminton, skied, ran on a treadmill – he had every possible sport to choose from, and apart from basketball, he was said to be particularly talented at rugby. Of course, basketball was his family sport – just as his mother could be called his first coach, his stepfather his first sparring partner. But as long as it was possible to combine all possible trainings and matches – he played everything, representing schools in football, rugby, basketball and track and field – among others he won several city championships in the long jump.
It was only at the age of 12 that he decided to commit his future to basketball, but by the age of 15 he was only attending practice 2 times a week, 2 hours each, and only then the quantity and quality of his trainings started to increase. And without the pressure of his family – he fell in love with the sport and began to force himself with his determination to train more and more seriously, binding himself to it more and more. This love and character can be seen on the court especially today, and it is worth noting here that such a long development in many disciplines at the same time, without particularly exploiting himself only in terms of basketball, is a very good prognosis for his future in the NBA – this type of players are usually more likely to avoid injuries and more easily absorb new skills.
After deciding to get seriously involved in basketball – Jeremy applied to Itchen – a basketball academy in Southampton. There he began real training, started to develop quickly and became independent… in which his parents also cheered him on, allowing him to make his own decisions about his career. He lived outside of his home with another family, a two-hour drive from home. It’s a safe distance, but one that already forces a more adult approach to life from a teenager on the threshold of his career.
At that time, he also chose which team he wanted to play for, and despite the temptations of the English federation – he chose Poland. Jeremy in England is „only” a resident – he has Polish and American citizenship and despite the English proposal, he decided not to change it. He joined our national team after his mother sent a video of him playing to the Polish Association, which luckily someone watched and invited him to the U16 team training camp led by Dawid Mazur. From that moment his hascareer accelerated.
At the same time Jeremy all the time cultivated links with the country of his ancestors. He spent every year a few months in Poland – mainly with his grandmother Lucyna Sochan, a woman with absolutely positive attitude, „Crazy Lucy”. Until now she is probably the biggest fan of her grandson, she closely follows basketball websites and podcasts… she can even contribute to internet discussions. She lives in Warsaw’s Praga district and when Jeremy visited her, he also regularly visited the basketball court on Jagiellońska street. And from there it is only a step to the famous inWarsaw basketball academy of Tomek Wakulski, who for years led „Jagiellonka”, organizing various basketball camps and individual trainings. On two such camps organized by Wakulski was also Jeremy – in Dadaj near Olsztyn. Of course, grandma, as grandmas do, did not leave anything to chance. By complete coincidence, she found herself in a summerhouse not far from where Jeremy was staying and fed him constantly with melons and watermelons. We don’t know if it was the effect of her magical diet or Sochan’s pure talent, but while during the first camp he worked with the 2003 age group, he finished the second camp with the older 2000/2001 group. And he definitely already stood out, even though at that time he didn’t yet impress with such fluidity of movement and agility as he does now. What stood out the most was definitely his character. A strange boy, speaking broken Polish at best, finding himself in a strange group, and the second time in an older one, and… he established contacts right away, he found himself perfectly. „Be positive” is the slogan Tomek Wakulski most closely associates with him. This was not just any group either, he was coached by, among others, Aleksander Lewandowski, one of the best Polish players of his generation, currently an important basketball player of the top league Astoria Bydgoszcz, and Benjamin Didier-Urbaniak, who played his last season in Legia Warszawa.
Wakulski’s Camp wasn’t the only basketball camp in Poland that Jeremy Sochan attended. He also attended Draft Camp, a camp for young basketball players featuring… drafting teams, organized by Warsaw Basketball, an organization that trains the next generation of basketball players. We even have Jeremy’s mixtape from that camp.
Sochan’s later career is now quite widely known.
He was the leader of the Polish national youth teams.
He attended high school in the United States, the prestigious La Lumiere, a fast-growing basketball program that has so far given the NBA three players – Jaren Jackson Jr., Jordan Poole and Isaiah Stewart. Jeremy Sochan will be the fourth and certainly not the last
He was chased out of the States by the pandemic and here Jeremy made another good decision, he left to further train in German Ratiopharma Ulm, a club famous in Europe for being a talent nursery, focused on delivering players to the NBA. The Polish scout of the Ulm Academy, Bronek Wawrzyńczuk, was very helpful in the move. Killian Hayes, for example, made it to the NBA from this club in recent years. Sochan also met with another Polish talent there – Igor Milicic Jr. At that time, he also made his debut in the senior national team of Poland.
After Ulm, it was time for Baylor University, where Jeremy made waves, jumping from being seen as a prospect for the 2023 draft, to the class of 2022 and projected draftee spots between 40 and 50. He then was projected to go at theend of the first round, and finally a big hype grew around him during games inside the very strong NCAA Big 12 Conference, and experts started picking him into the draft lottery. This was confirmed by an invitation from the NBA to the Green Room before the Draft 2022.
What does it mean?
It’s an invitation to the tables in front of the stage where the best players of a given draft class sit with their camps/nearest ones and wait to be selected. The NBA consults quite extensively with teams before sending out the invitations, to get an idea of what area a player should be selected in, and whether they’re sure they won’t be sitting in the Green Room alone, not chosen by anyone, while the names of players being selected in the second round are being read out around them (it happened to our Maciek Lampe once). The fact that Jeremy was invited as one of the first 16 players means that NBA authorities are relatively certain he will go in the top20. There will be as many as 22 players in the green room this year, the last six are relative certainties to be selected in the first round.
Interestingly – no one from Jeremy’s camp will confirm this, but he must have had these leaks a long time ago. Right after the NCAA season ended, he declared for the Draft and immediately signed with an agent cutting off his ability to return to college. No one would take that kind of risk these days, unsure of a first-round pick and guaranteed money. Was there some verbal promise, or did the agent know something more? That is something we will never know. But since then, Jeremy has been acting like a typical lottery sure thing – he didn’t take measurements at the Draft Combine, he chooses where he goes for workouts and who he wants to show up to… he must be confident. And that’s fine.
He has grounds for this.
WHO JEREMY SOCHAN IS ON THE COURT – PLAYER ANALYSIS
I have divided this section into three parts:
- Video analysis
- General data, physical profile and nature
Together with Mateusz Łukaszewicz from the Roster website, we did something that hasn’t been done before on the Polish web. A 20-minute film with an analysis of Jeremy’s strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to watch! (English subtitles for the video are coming soon).
STATISTICS, PHYSICAL PROFILE AND CHARACTER:
Jeremy’s stats from his entire season in the NCAA, per sports-reference:
Including the much more relevant, and slightly more significant in terms of the NBA draft, stats from the tougher and more important games inside the Big12 Conference:
Based on this data, we can conclude that when the stakes and level of games played increased, as expected in such situations, Sochan’s statistics also deteriorated slightly. In terms of his evaluation for the NBA, this does not have a significant impact, and the most important indicators in terms of his future production in the NBA are 4 specific stats:
Two-point shooting efficiency – very good, over 60% in conference games, although the number of shots is a little worrying – it is difficult to say how increasing the number of attempts and their difficulty will affect the efficiency
Efficiency from the free-throw line – abysmal for a winger and for Jeremy’s shooting technique – is, from an analytical standpoint, a more important indicator about his future three-point shooting than the three-point percentage itself – which is why NBA teams put most of their emphasis on workouts to test Sochan’sshooting, including under high fatigue and pressure
Steals – Jeremy is pretty good here, making 2.9 steals per 100 possessions. It’s not outstanding, but it’s promising – the number of steals per 100 possessions, or „steal rate” (in how many percent of an opponent’s actions a player intercepts the ball) is the best available simple indicator of a player’s court intelligence and instincts. How he uses his physical advantages at the NCAA level (most future NBA players are physically superior to ordinary players at this stage). This parameter does not indicate future good defenders, but it often characterizes future good and smart players at the NBA level.
Usage – is how many percent of your team’s possessions a player completes when he is on the court.Average usage (20-30%) is usually an indicator that a player uses his advantages over his opponents, but does not dominate the team’s offense to pump up his stats. Warning signals for NBA teams are usually too low usage (below 15%), which means that the player did not stand out offensively (did not deserve a bigger role?) even at the NCAA level, too high means that with a slightly smaller role, surrounded by players better than him, the player may not find himself in the NBA. Jeremy played with a usage rate of 19.6% at Baylor, which considering his role (first player off the bench) and the team’s system and the fact that he wasn’t supposed to be the team’s scoring leader (that fell to players with more seniority in college games, which is typical for the Bears) is a very decent result. It shows that he knew how to step into the role, but at the same time wasn’t afraid to make shooting decisions.
Physically, Sochan is the prototypical player for the modern NBA.
We don’t have his exact measurements because he didn’t decide to share them at the Draft Combine, but according to the latest available data:
Height: 206 cm (6.8 feet)
Weight: 104 kg (230 pounds)
Wingspan: 215 cm (7.1 feet)
Age: 19 years – born 20 May 2003
Physical parameters are ideal for the NBA. Tall enough to play under the basket, but not so tall that it prevents him from defending against smaller players. Long arms, which help both in defense and finishing under the basket. Solid physique – despite being one of the youngest players in this year’s draft, he is also one of the strongest wings, and his broad shoulders and not yet fully maturedmuscle mass and physique show that there is still a lot of room for future progress
Add to that good and quick footwork, especially in moving laterally, good jumping ability and overall agility along with fluidity of movement – you have exactly the profile of player that is most sought after in the NBA right now.
Nevertheless, most likely Jeremy is not NBA superstar material, he lacks two things. The first is footwork towards the basket – he lacks speed in front-back movement, on offense it can be seen by a distinct lack of a good first step, which would allow him to generate advantages in one-on-one situations. On defense you will also notice it when he loses position and has to chase a player who has already started to pass him. He is then unable to make up the position with his legs and has to rely on his intelligence and arm length to save the situation. He also lacks explosiveness after the basket, when he jumps after being forced to dribble, he cannot accelerate freely without thinking about the ball in his hands, his jumper is much less visible and reliable – you can see a bit of a lack of height over defenders and power after catching contact with them in the air. However, this might just be a skill flawhe could potentially correct practicing among the pros – when he catches the ball already in double-team or even in the air, he can look very athletic, better than the average NBA player.
Character will certainly help too. Love for the game emanates from every move Sochan makes on the court. He is very competitive and very expressive. He does not let go of any lost balls, there is no situation without a way out for him. You could see it when he brilliantly defended during Baylor’s chase after North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, you could see it when he communicates with his teammates on defense and becomes the defensive hub of the team, and you could also see it when he gets behind his opponents and overwhelms them in one-on-one situations. He is also smiling, contactable and always positive, on the court cheering and shouting at his teammates, and when he is off it, constantly living the game and experiencing events just like the players who are playing. These character traits are extremely important in the context of the NBA, players with such an attitude have a greater chance of team success than even the most talented lousy players. NBA organizations are most likely to test this in workouts, too – they put a player in a situation of extreme fatigue, sometimes even demanding almost impossible things of him, and watch how he responds. Jeremy has reportedly responded brilliantly and hasstabilized his position in the top-14 of the draft, and the feedback from teams pouring in about him is usually excellent.
Jeremy on offense has been nothing more than a task player for most of the season. He will attack the rebound, wait patiently for the ball in the corner, and after the pass he will shoot the ball from three, attack close’out (a player trying to reach him to prevent the shot) and thus attack the basket, or without the ball he will cut to the rim, where he will get a lob for a dunk or a pass on the move from the point guard. A classic glue-guy, the man for everythingwho is supposed to fill holes in his team’s offense.
Over the course of the season, however, he began to add other elements to his game. The first, and perhaps the most important in terms of playing in the NBA, is the ability to get to a confident and good shot from mid-range. Sochan has shown very good footwork, agility, pump fakes, dunks, jumpers, up and under moves (a move where after showing the ball to a defender, a player dives under his shoulder making an extra jump) and, most importantly, turnovers. His spins in search of a throw-in were something that even the commentators of the NCAA Tournament were talking about at some point – the boy knows how to smoothly enter a spin from the rim, with which he gains space to throw and a clearly stable position for himself. What for someone else might be an imbalance, for him looks confident, which can only be an effect of long training and repeating the same play thousands of times, in different variations and with different ways of approaching it. What is important here – he doesn’t do it thoughtlessly, well covered by a rival he often leaves one of his legs on the floor and if he can’t reach his trademark fade, he can turn on it once or twice more, make a move to the side or towards the basket and consequently get the expected position. This kind of generating space for himself to throw, while using his physical conditions, is something that not even all of the players selected in front of him have, not to mention those who are „supposed” to be behind him.
The other major element that has emerged in Sochan’s game…or actually returned to it, is great passing. Throughout his years of playing on youth teams, Jeremy showed that he can create shots for less talented teammates and when he established himself on a tough and very talented Baylor team – he started passing there as well. He reads situational passes very well, he can throw the ball one-handed to the perimeter, he can pass in a small game to another frontcourt player or a cutback. But what is absolutely most important – he can be lethal after he puts up a perimeter screen, makes a short roll, gets a pass and instead of a defender covering him coming back to help with the guards, Jeremy can play fantastically in a 4-on-3 situation. It’s a situation you see a lot in the NBA and if Sochan makes good decisions, it may turn out one day that comparisons to Kyle Anderson and Draymond Green were not exaggerated at all.
Unfortunately, Jeremy’s shooting ability does not stand out.
Fortunately, poor efficiency from the line and not so good from 3 don’t tell the whole story about his shooting. His shotmechanics are not bad, he holds the ball well and the movement is repeatable and the only thing you can complain about is that he brings the ball out from a very low point. As a result, the defender has a lot of time to react, and if Jeremy wants to accelerate the shot, it disrupts the chain of movement and reduces the chance that the ball will fall into the basket. This should be correctable, but to achieve this it would be best if he got to some great shooting coaches in his early years. There are primarily three such in the NBA – Chip Engelland with the San Antonio Spurs, Fred Vinson with the New Orleans Pelicans and… Nick Nurse’s coaching staff in Toronto. These three teams have clearly proven their organizational superiority over the rest of the league in recent years, teaching players, who were widely rumored to not be capable of doing so, to shoot at a good percentage Some of these players are among the better 3-point shooters in the league.
In terms of learning to shoot, we also have one VERY positive factor. In Conference Games and the NCAA Tournament, Jeremy Sochan shot as much as 37.5% from 3 in spot up situations. This means that when he gets the ball in a stable position and only has to shoot, he was already an offensive option in the NCAA that rival defenses had to reckon with.
It’s also worth noting that his role in the Baylor offense also clearly increased towards the end of the season.
In his last 7 games, he made at least 10 shots four times, something he had done only twice in his previous 23 games. In the last 8 games, his scoring average exceeded 12 points per game (more than 3 more than in the first 22 games), and perhaps his two best offensive performances came in the NCAA Tournament when he scored 15 points twice in important games against highly motivated competition.
That development over the course of the season and the coach’s growing confidence certainly hasn’t escaped the attention of NBA scouts.
At this point, Jeremy’s offense can be described in three groups of plays:
The things he did most often and stemmed from his role:
- Covering and rolling to the basket in a pick and roll
- Putting up the screen and running to the perimeter toshoot from 3 in the pick and pop
- Rebounding and pushing the ball in transition
- Cutting without the ball and attacking the rim – great and athletic in this element
Things he did well, but occasionally, in response to the defense’s behavior:
- Playmaker in 4-on-3 situations after a short roll and receiving a pass in a pick
- Mid-range shot following a turnover
- Exploitation of mismatches when covered by much smaller or much larger rivals
Things that he definitely needs to improve:
- Scoring in isolations
- Attacking the rim, getting to the rim, and finishing through contact
- Pull-up shots, after the basket, especially from 3, which he was very poor at
- Making free-throws
Jeremy Sochan is the best defender in the 2022 draft.
That could be the end of this segment. This is not the statement of a hotheaded fan from Poland, it is not the opinion of experts pumping a patriotic balloon. It is something that all experts in the world agree on. Sochan is considered the best defender of this peer group, All Defensive Teams player material and someone who can really defend NBA players on all 5 positions, from playmakers to centers.
It’s that side of the floor that makes him so appealing to NBA teams, so much so that he should be selected higher in the Draft than is commonly thought.
What is this due to?
The league’s biggest stars are wings, strong and mobile players who can throw over defenders’ heads or carry them physically: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Paul George. If an NBA team doesn’t have one of these guys on the roster, it’s imperative that they have someone who can disrupt them, limit them in one-on-one play. Hence the immense value of players like Pascal Siakam, Mikal Bridges, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Jae Crowder, PJ Tucker, Herb Jones or even Patrick Williams. A big wing defender who can effectively limit the best in the league is an absolute must at this point on a team looking to contend for more than the second round of the playoffs.
If such a player can also cover other positions, his value only increases. When it turned out that PJ Tucker can play as a center, he suddenly started to be sought after, despite his advanced age for an NBA player. Al Horford, who avoided the centre role his entire career, suddenly became an absolute key to the Celtics’ road to the Finals in this year’s playoffs – it turned out that he can one-handedly limit rivals’mobile stars, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo or Bam Adebayo, while at the same time dominating on the boards and playing from the perimeter, which gives his teammates more space to attack the frontcourt. For the same reason, Grant Williams’s value has increased dramatically in this year’s playoffs.
Conversely, if the winger can also cover opponents’ playmakers, he suddenly comes in at the salary level of Mikal Bridges, who recently got a four-year contract worth $90 million from the Phoenix Suns.
On the other hand, players who can cover all 5 positions on the court are a real rarity. Scottie Barnes did it at the NCAA level, and it was one of the main reasons he was selected in the top 5 of the 2021 draft. Andit’s worth noting, he is not as good at covering small opponents, point guards and shooting guards than Sochan. (Of course, he’s also noticeably better than him on offense, but we’re talking about defense here.) Along with Barnes, you can count such players in the NBA on your fingersAnd to such players Jeremy is compared most often: Barnes, Draymond Green, Ben Simmons, Aaron Gordon etc. Their offensive capabilities are very different, and how our future NBA player develops on offense will determine his ceiling in the league: Will he be a taskmaster, someone who has to be hidden in the team’s offense by fairly limited opportunities, or a star of smaller or larger format? The answer to that question will be decided by the offense.
However, where Jeremy Sochan has the floor is determined by the defense. Very good already. What’s so special about it?
Energy and commitment – he seems to have endless reserves of energy on the court. Always attacks the opponent with equal commitment, does not shy away from contact and shoves, always ready to throw himself on the floor for the ball, constantly waving hands, touching, pushing, hooking, communicating with colleagues from the defense and it seems that he also talks to rivals … his very reminiscent of Dennis Rodman and Draymond Green. A living defensive silver lining. Terribly annoying and disruptive to rivals… and Jeremy himself admitted that he loves himself in this role, the guy who throws the opponent off balance.
Defensive rebounding – Due to the fact that at Baylor he often played the role of a front court player, even a center, he was responsible for defensive boards on the team. He’s not afraid to sacrifice his body to set up opponents and allow teammates to rebound, instead of looking at the ball up top he makes sure the opponent doesn’t catch it in the first place, and when he loses position, he fights back using his elbows, footwork and ability to repeatedly, repetitively and quickly jump out. By the way, you can see that he wants and enjoys doing this, which is not every basketball player’s favorite role. Consequently, Sochan finishes his rivals’ possessions – catching the ball after their missed shots.
Covering smaller rivals – a trait highlighted by Baylor’s ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears, already down by 20 points, put everything on the line and started to cover their rivals with a zone that stretched all over the court. Jeremy was standing on top of the zone, covering the opponent’s point guard right under the basket and preventing him from taking the ball across halfcourt… he was able to keep him on his feet and did not let the theoretically faster opponent pass him, despite the fact that he was taller than him by a good 8 inchers (20 centimeters).
The ability to change coverages, the so-called switchability, is another thing that was clearly visible thanks to Baylor’s defensive system. The team’s coach trusted Sochan so much, that even in a classic zone defense in his own half, he put him at the top of the zone, or rather a half-zone, in which players were supposedly covering each other, but when rivals changed positions, they instantly changed coverage. As a result, Jeremy was regularly covering three or four players in the space of several seconds, depriving all of them of the possibility to shoot, penetrate, and often forcing turnovers. This is an extremely important skill in terms of value for the NBA – especially in the playoffs, players who can switch are worth their weight in gold, as we have seen all too clearly this year: the Celtics’ switching defense made it possible for Kevin Durant to have perhaps the most difficult series offensively of his career.
His body, defensive acumen, and defensive support – Jeremy is aware of his defensive capabilities and has learned to rely on strength, speed and arm reach. He can cover the player off the ball and, when attempting a lob or side to side pass, instantly jump out and intercept it. This feeling and ability to use the moment, read the intentions of the opponent, also allows him to play well on the weak side (the opposite side of the floor to the place where the ball is). At the same time, he can help with attacking the opponent, as well as control his player without the ball all the time.
Protecting the rim – on the same principle as helping to cover space, Sochan knows how to sense the moment to rotate to the basket and jump to the rival’s shot to make it as difficult as possible. This doesn’t translate into a lot of blocks, but by jumping vertically and catching contact with his rival while maintaining the correct defensive position, he knows how to significantly hinder him from making an easy shot.
Passing lanes – Thanks to his feel, mobility, arm length and orientation in space, Jeremy regularly closes his opponents’ passing lines, while not losing his defensive position: it is simply very difficult to pass near him in such a way that he does not fumble or even intercept the ball. This is definitely an element he will continue to work on in the NBA, the teams’ staffs pay a lot of attention to it.
Of course. There are also disadvantages.
And almost all of them can be described in one phrase:
TOO MUCH SYNDROME
Jeremy sometimes wants too much, works his hands too much around the rival and thus catches stupid fouls.
Sometimes he comes out too aggressively into the rotation, makes a close out too sharply on an opponent who can shoot and the opponent catches him on straight legs, momentum going the other way and with one move passes him easily, breaking the first line of defense.
Sometimes he wants to take the ball away from the opponent too much as well, reaches instead of being content to keep it in front of him, and as a result he is quite regularly caught out on spectacular crossovers, dunks… of which there will only be more in the NBA.
Additionally, as I have already mentioned with the physical profile – he is much faster laterally than front to back and because of that once he loses position over his rival, he is not able to catch up with him and has to make up with his size. In the NCAA it worked, in the NBA, with a much higher level of skills and athleticism of rivals, it is unlikely to be sufficient.
Sochan’s defense can be summarized as follows:
- Multi-positioning, ability to cover any position on the pitch.
- Energy, desire, commitment.
- Natural defensive sense of spacing and feel for the game.
- Athleticism and body length.
- The ability to constantly change coverage
- Defending the rim and closing passing lanes.
- Over-aggressivenesswhile covering opponents
- Over-aggressiveness in closeouts
- Moving forwards and backwards
- Stupid fouls
WHO IN THE NBA SOCHAN REMINDS US OF?
Andrei Kirilenko – 206 cm, 99 kg, wingspan 224 cm
Shane Battier – 203 cm, 99 kg, wingspan 217 cm
Boris Diaw – 203 cm, 113 kg, wingspan 215 cm
Ben Simmons – 211 cm, 108 kg, wingspan 214 cm
Scottie Barnes – 206 cm, 102 kg, wingspan 218 cm
Draymon Green – 198 cm, 104 kg, wingspan 217 cm
Aaron Gordon – 203 cm, 106 kg, wingspan 213 cm
Chuma Okeke – 198 cm, 103 kg, wingspan 213 cm
Kyle Anderson – 206 cm, 104 kg, wingspan 221 cm
OG Anunoby – 201 cm, 105 kg, wingspan 219 cm
PREDICTIONS FOR THE DRAFT – this part was written before the draft, Im leaving only a small, Spurs-centered nuggets from it.
I have four teams here and for good reason, they are all renowned for good player development. 3 of the 4 aren’t among the biggest…most party markets in the league either, because while I believe in Jeremy’s head and wisdom, the big city and big temptations can turn any 19 year old’s head.
– San Antonio Spurs: A great, intimate organization that is known for good player development, has a long history of fixing players shooting woes and has a legendary coach, Greg Popovich, who is both a team leader and a life teacher for young players. If there is somewhere to start your career in the league, somewhere to mature in life, San Antonio is still the best place in the NBA to do so. Although the Spurs are notorious for bringing players in slowly, it seems Sochan would have a big role as a power forward and backup smallball center from the get-go.
The other three dream scenarios: Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat
– San Antonio Spurs: They pick at #9 and are reportedly heavily interested in Jeremy, he seems to be one of the players they are targeting this year.
Other likely teams: Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks
I asked some of my expert friends for their opinions on Sochan. The questions are formulated in such a way that they can be answered literally in one word, which was my intention, but some of my friends are evidently too eloquent and consequently some of the statements are a bit longer:
Where in the NBA would Jeremy Sochan fit best?
Marcin Gortat (former NBA player): On a team where there is very good development and a very strong team leader on whom Jeremy could model himself.
Lukasz Ceglinski (Editor-in-Chief, Sport.pl): San Antonio Spurs
Michał Pacuda (editor-in-chief of Probasket.pl): Ideally, he should go to a club where he can develop – which can invest in players and improve their skills. San Antonio Spurs is such an organization.
Lukasz Szwonder -Keep The Beat (The biggest basketball Youtuber in Poland): San Antonio Spurs
Krzysztof Kosidowski (Editor-in-Chief of ColllegeHoops.pl): Honestly, this question is the hardest for me to answer because I’m not that familiar with NBA team lineups, but if I have to guess I’ll bet on the Spurs.
Karol Śliwa (Author of Karol Says website): Toronto Raptors. And I think it would be a perfect fit for both sides. Let me start with the non-basketball stuff – Jeremy is an internationalist who grew up in different places. The Raptors are a top organization, lauded by the rest of the NBA. But by virtue of it being Canada, players from the US are still not very keen on moving there. I think Jeremy would have no problem extending his rookie deal with the Raptors. And those are the kinds of things that matter when you invest your high pick in a young player. On the purely athletic aspect, I can see the merits as well. A creative coach who won’t bury him in ossified schemes. Scottie Barnes started games at both the point guard and center positions in his first season in the league. Not every coach in the NBA likes that kind of basketball variety. Besides, the Raps have one of the best coaching staffs in the NBA when it comes to developing young players. In Toronto, they should improve Jeremy’s not-so-great jump shot.
Miroslaw Noculak (former coach, basketball expert): Chicago Bulls: with Nikola Vucevic playing the 4 and with Patrick Williams as a versatile duo playing an interchangeable 4/5.
What role will Jeremy play at the NBA level?
Gortat: For now, he has got to be a very good task player, a sixth man coming off the bench as a rookie. He can also be used as a good defender in the team’s starting five. Depending on the team he ends up on and how he develops, that could change dramatically: for better… or for worse.
Ceglinski: so-called glue guy.
Pacuda: It all depends on the work he’ll put in and a little bit of luck, whether he’ll be in the right place at the right time, meaning, for example, whether he’ll get opportunities, maybe he’ll have to replace someone somewhere, etc. He definitely has the talent and potential to play in the NBA for many years.
KeepTheBeat: Smallball center, starter
Kosidowski: I think he can easily play an important role off the bench (like he did at Baylor), and if he develops as we all expect the thought being a starter is not that far off.
Śliwa: He has the physical conditions to become an elite defender. And maybe we’ll stop there for now, so as not to over-inflate the balloon of expectations and imagination. I think he can be a player on the level of Dorian Finney-Smith or maybe even Mikal Bridges, and that would be something great for him and for Polish basketball. Anything more than that would be great
Noculak: He can cover anyone – a versatile defender.
What NBA players does Jeremy remind you of?
Gortat: It’s hard for me to profile him as a specific player, Jeremy has his own unique style of play. There are elements that Jeremy does very well, there are those that he needs to improve. He is a smart kid and for sure learning from others should come easy to him.
Ceglinski: Boris Diaw
Pacuda: From Kyle Kuzma’s physique, and from skill and potential a combination of players like Boris Diaw, Andrei Kirilenko and Draymond Green.
KeepTheBeat: Ben Simmons, Boris Diaw, Shane Battier
Kosidowski: The comparison to Shane Battier suits him very well.
Śliwa: OG Anunoby. I’ve followed the Englishman’s career closely from the very beginning. I saw many games and even more of his workouts with my own eyes. A defensive „force” who needed to „just” develop on offense to be somebody in the NBA. OG went from 5.9 points in his rookie season to 17 this past season. And I think that’s still not the ceiling of his offensive capabilities. Jeremy comes to the NBA with very similar characteristics.
Noculak: Perhaps Boris Diaw.
What is Jeremy’s biggest basketball flaw?
Gortat: There are no big ones that he should not be able to correct. There are no limits to his development and that’s what counts. Everything is open to him. He just has to work hard for it.
Ceglinski: Inconsistent jumpshot
Pacuda: Not a good enough jump shot from mid and long rangeand free-throws, but his mechanics look well, so there is potential and room for significant improvement here.
KeepTheBeat: Free throws.
Kosidowski: As we all know – the shooting. Less than 30% on threes and below 60% from the free throw line throughout the season is a little bit worrying, but fortunately it was getting better as the season went on. There is no reason to panic and I assume we can be calm.
Sliwa: I don’t know him personally, but listening to and reading interviews with him, I sometimes get the impression that he is too polite. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad at all. This is where Tim Duncan and Steph Curry say hello. In all seriousness, once he gets to the NBA, he has to start improving his jump shot from the start This is the biggest flaw in his game. I have no doubt that he will be excellent on defense, but to be playable he needs to be at least decent on offense. See Matisse Thybulle – so what if he defends if the 76ers sometimes have to take him off the floor to avoid playing 4-on-5 offense.
Noculak: Maybe not so much a flaw as something to improve: playing with the ball – shooting and getting free from the defender, catch-and-shoot and the ability to use P&R if he starts playing as a three (small forward) with time.
What is Jeremy’s biggest basketball advantage?
Gortat: Long legs, athleticism, 18 years old! Sky is the limit!
Ceglinski: Ability to defend iseveral positions.
Pacuda: Huge wingspan and very good defensively. Finds himself well in team defense, after the pass, when he has to cover a lower opponent he often does not let thempass – he can „stand his ground” on defense, this should be appreciated by coaches in the NBA and use his abilities and potential.
KeepTheBeat: Defender for every position, very high basketball IQ
Kosidowski: Versatility and defensive potential.
Śliwa: The body! Sochan is a basketball player of the 21st century. A forward who moves superbly, who has length, is quick, leaping and mobile. He can already defend 2-3 positions. As he gains experience and muscle, he will become a four-position switching machine. At times he may even switch to five, depending on who the rivals have in the middle.
Noculak: Defence and decision-making on offense.
Traditionally at the end: if you like the material and think it’s worth supporting, you can always buy me a symbolic coffee, I’d be very pleased. (Its obviously just a form of donation – 1$ is worth 5 zł).
Here you can do it easily:
The photographs in the text appear courtesy of Jeremy’s family and are from his private archive.
The statistics used on this page are from the basketball-referece website and its sports-reference sub-site.
Many thanks for the participation of all the experts and his family for making the material available, and to Mateusz Łukaszewicz for working together on the video analysis.