Jeremy Sochan, a rookie with sky-high confidence, continues to amaze them despite being 19 years old.
Jeremy Sochan, a rookie from Poland who plays for the San Antonio Spurs at 19, has been all over the globe owing to his basketball experience, which has helped him become the self-assured person and player he is now.
At Guymon, Oklahoma, Sochan was brought into the world by his Polish mother and an American father. Soon after, the family relocated to Milton Keynes, located in England. There, Sochan, then just three years old, first picked up a basketball.
While soccer was the most popular sport in England, Sochan was fortunate enough to grow up in a community where basketball was also widely played. At 16, he traveled to Southampton to attend high school and play for the professional team, the Solent Kestrels. In addition, Sochan was a member of Poland’s under-16 squad, which he captained to the FIBA U16 European Championship in Division B and won Most Valuable Player honors. As Sochan continued to improve, he became more confident in performing at a very high level.
On a Zoom chat, he said that basketball in England isn’t the finest, and his trademark teeth gap was visible through his grin. Hence, he decided to go to La Lumiere School, which was located in Indiana. But, his time there was brief. After just a few short months into his junior year, the pandemic struck. As a result, he decided to travel abroad and join Orange Academy in Germany’s ProB division.
Sochan remarked, “[I’ve been] all over the place,” and he meant it.
Sochan understood the game’s defensive and offensive strategies from playing professional basketball in Europe. The combination of these intangibles and his impressive physical dimensions drew the attention of the best college basketball coaches. The travel was one that Sochan was used to at that point, and he decided to do it once again to play college basketball at Baylor University.
Sochan finished the 2021–22 season with the Bears, the team that held the title of national champions, averaging 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He was recognized by the Big 12 as the Sixth Man and was selected to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. In a few more months, Sochan was picked by the Spurs as the ninth overall choice in the 2022 NBA Draft. This is because he had an outstanding rookie season.
Because of his diverse experiences before entering the NBA, Sochan was able to integrate into the league immediately away. He views his identity as a basketball player as a hybrid of European and American play styles.
Sochan says, “The American style gave a little bit of that swag.” “The combination [of American and European basketball] truly helped me become who I am.”
Both on and off the court, Sochan exudes an air of swagger and self-assurance. His vibrantly colored hair has become an iconic element of his image, especially while competing on the court. Already during this season, he has selected lilac, white, pink, and a vivid green for the Spurs’ game that will take place in Mexico City. Many people are comparing the young player to the legendary Dennis Rodman, who dyed his hair green and wore number 10 for the Spurs.
After a slow start to the season from the free throw line, Sochan had the confidence to try something new with his free throw routine because of Sochan’s self-assurance. In a game that took place in December versus the Houston Rockets, Sochan made it to the free-throw line in the first quarter. The routine consisted of taking the ball from the referee, dribbling it twice, then bending his knees as usual. On the other hand, this time, he pulled a trick out of his sleeve and shot the free throw with one hand. The attempt was unsuccessful, but it did lead to the conception of a new plan.
After adjusting, Sochan improved his free throw shooting percentage to 78.1% from 45.9% when shooting with two hands.
Because of his mother, Sochan has a lot of self-assurance and is ready to be different from other people. His mother encouraged him just to be himself.
Sochan said, “I believe in myself, which is the source of my confidence.” “I [want] to teach them that it is okay to be yourself,” I said.
Sochan is a player known for his versatility. He is quick, explosive, and quickly fills the stat sheet. The strength of his defense sets him apart as a player of the highest caliber. On any given evening, he is often tasked with guarding the most talented player on the other team.
“He competes and guards numbers 1-5. He is a point guard and a four-man on the team. Recently, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said the player is both a rebounder and a defender.
Even though Sochan wants to develop his unique style, he looks up to players known for being “disruptors” and “irritators,” He cites Draymond Green and Patrick Beverley as models.
“I constantly watch annoying guys, and how [they] play defense,” Sohan said. “It’s fascinating.” “[Beverley] is obnoxious, and people dislike [having to play against] him,” they said.
When the Sochan played the Dallas Mavericks this season, he channeled his inner Beverley by attempting to anger Luka Doncic, a contender for Most Valuable Player. Luka’s displeasure at Sochan’s aggressive and violent defense against him was plain to see on his face. While others may be cautious about upsetting the best scorer in the NBA, particularly as a youthful rookie, Sochan didn’t back down from the challenge.
Sochan is continuously improving his play on the attacking side of the ball. At Baylor, he was never a scoring threat; despite being the sixth top scorer on the team, he scored at most 17 points in a single game. But now that he’s playing for the Spurs, he has more freedom to experiment with his attacking style, and as a consequence, he’s becoming more bold, inventive and self-assured.
It is safe to say that he has come a long way from his first 23 games, as he is now averaging 12.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.8 APG over his past 25 games while shooting 44.4% from the field and 32.8% from deep. Even more impressively, he scored a career-high 30 points in a game against the Phoenix Suns in late January.
On Friday, Sochan participated in the Jordan Rising Stars event at All-Star 2023. Only eleven first-year players were accepted to the event, and Sochan was one of them.
“It’s insane,” Sochan said, unable to contain his enthusiasm any longer. “I’ve gone to a lot of All-Star weekends, and it’s always been a goal of mine to participate in one of them. It’s a fascinating opportunity.”
On Friday night, the youngster scored seven points for Joakim Noah’s team in two games, including a rim-rattling, one-handed throwdown dunk.
Sochan’s hair color may be more remembered than the dunk he just did. He refused to say what color he would color his hair to save the big reveal for the weekend, which everyone was quite excited about. As a result, he ended up with a design inspired by Pinterest, which consisted of wavy lines in blue, pink, and purple that stretched from the back of his head to the top of his hairline. Even though he hit the shot from half-court, he sought to persuade his colleagues on the Rising Stars to have their hair dyed.
On and off the court, Jeremy Sochan is many things to many different people. He is a defensive swiss army knife, a colorful-haired rookie, a one-handed free throw shooter, the youngest Pole to ever play for the national team, a standout at Baylor, Dennis Rodman’s long-lost cousin, the Spurs’ highest draft pick since Tim Duncan, and a Rising Star, among other things. The Spurs selected him with the third overall pick in this year’s draft.
Sochan only wants to be himself, and this is merely the beginning for the self-assured and youthful rookie.