Jeremy Sochan

Spurs Rookie Jeremy Sochan Discusses Health, EuroBasket, Alamodome Game

Spurs rookie forward Jeremy Sochan is fully recovered from a COVID-19 infection and is confident he’ll be 100% healthy for training camp, reports Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

Sochan was unable to suit up for San Antonio during the team’s Las Vegas Summer League showing this year due to the novel coronavirus, but after weeks of working out, he says he is wholly recuperated ahead of training camp.

“I have been working out here daily,” Sochan said. “My body is feeling great.”

The 19-year-old was selected by the Spurs with the ninth pick in the 2022 draft out of Baylor, where he was named the 2021/22 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year. Though his college numbers were fairly modest, Sochan’s defensive upside and athleticism make him an intriguing long-term prospect. In 30 games during his lone college season, he averaged 9.2 PPG on 47.4% shooting, 6.4 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.3 SPG.

Here’s more from Sochan’s conversation:

  • The 6’9″ forward discussed the mental health routine he has been employing to keep himself centered since his Baylor days. “If I am going through something or if I have a string of games where I am not playing well or my shot is not falling, normally I try to communicate with the people around me, talk about it and try to solve stuff like that instead of keeping it to myself and having it eat me up,” Sochan said. “Communication is definitely key for me.”
  • Though he is now healthy, Sochan has opted to not suit up for the Polish national team in this year’s FIBA EuroBasket competition, which will tip off in Germany on September 1. “Of course, it is always an honor to play for the Polish national team,” said Sochan, who is eligible because his mother is Polish. “But this is going to be my first season in the NBA, playing 82 games. I’ve never done that before, so I think just being ready, being in the environment, being in San Antonio, is important to have the best season I can have.”
  • Sochan became more excited about his rookie season following the NBA’s release of the regular season schedule this week. He singled out two games in Austin and one against the Warriors, the reigning 2022 champs, at San Antonio’s 65,000-seat Alamodome on January 13, as highlights. “It’s really exciting, because there’s going to be a lot of new people coming to watch,” Sochan said of that game at the Alamodome.

Southwest Notes: J. Jackson, Sochan, Silas, Garuba

Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. will miss the start of the upcoming season after offseason surgery for a stress fracture in his right foot, but an orthopedics doctor tells Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal that Jackson should be back to normal once he completes the rehab process.

Dr. Kenneth Jung, who specializes in foot and ankle fractures, notes that overuse is the most common cause of stress fractures. The broken bone normally takes six to eight weeks to fully heal, though Jung says it can sometimes be as long as three months. The Grizzlies expect Jackson to be sidelined for four to six months, which would have him ready to play sometime between November and January.

“Obviously once the bone heals, whether it takes two months or three months, then you’re starting to work back into basketball shape,” Jung explained. “That’s why they may have given themselves a little leeway, whether it’s four months or six months. He’s got to get built back up to be able to play an entire season. The other part is his body will de-condition somewhat while he’s letting the bone heal. You’re going to need some time to build that back up to get back onto the court.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs rookie Jeremy Sochan has decided to bypass an opportunity to play for Poland in the EuroBasket tournament, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. Sochan, who didn’t play during Summer League after being placed in health and safety protocols, will focus on getting ready for his NBA debut. “After long discussions with the San Antonio Spurs, my agent and family, we decided that I should stay in San Antonio and continue preparing for my first season in the NBA, the most important and longest season of my career so far,” Sochan said in a statement released by the Polish Basketball Association.
  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas shouldn’t have any concerns about job security heading into his third NBA season, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. Houston has posted the league’s worst record the past two years, but management still has faith in Silas to oversee the rebuilding process and was happy with the development of the team’s young players last season. Iko also notes that the front office allowed Silas free rein to build his coaching staff this summer.
  • This could be a crucial season for Rockets big man Usman Garuba, Iko adds in the same piece. After injuries limited him to 24 games in his rookie season, a sprained left ankle prevented him from playing in Summer League. Garuba was a first-round pick last year and Houston would like to use him as a small-ball center off the bench, but he will have plenty of competition for that role.

Spurs Notes: Sochan, Branham, Hall, Days

Most of the NBA’s top draft picks saw at least some playing time in Las Vegas, but not Spurs rookie Jeremy Sochan, whose Summer League plans were derailed by COVID-19, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. The ninth overall selection tested positive for the virus shortly after the draft and couldn’t practice with the Summer League squad. He agreed with the team’s decision to not have him try to play in any games.

“I didn’t have any injuries, but COVID still affects you, affects your lungs,” Sochan said.“I didn’t practice, and I was out of shape. … It made sense for me not to play here and I am always going to listen to the people in the organization.”

Sochan said he “stayed in bed and slept a lot” after contracting COVID, but he felt better after three days. He has spent most of his time in Las Vegas doing weight training and working with Summer League coach Mitch Johnson to learn the team’s playbook. He has also been a prominent cheerleader during the games and has been impressed by fellow first-round picks Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley.

“I think both have done great,” Sochan said. “There are some areas where they could have done better, but it’s a learning experience for everyone. (Two-way player) Dominick Barlow has also done well. I think it’s been a learning experience for them. They just want to learn and win.”

There’s more on the Spurs:

  • Branham turned in his best performance Saturday in San Antonio’s final Summer League game, Orsborn notes in a separate story. The 20th pick in the draft scored 23 points while hitting 8-of-15 shots from the floor and 5-of-8 from three-point range. “Him being decisive is going to be the key,” Johnson said. “He gets in between sometimes with, ‘Should I drive it? Should I shoot it?’ Or he’s thinking, ‘I missed the last one.’ When you are as versatile and as skilled as he is, you just need to play and be aggressive. … That’s going to be one of his strengths (three-point shooting), so he needs to try to score.”
  • Jordan Hall, an undrafted rookie out of St. Joseph’s, declared for the draft in 2021 but took the Spurs’ advice and returned to school for another year, Orsborn states in another piece. Hall, a combo forward who’s competing for an open two-way slot, reminds a lot of people of former Spur Kyle Anderson.
  • Johnson called it “bittersweet” to have Darius Days sign a two-way deal with the Heat after a strong performance with the Spurs, but he said that’s one of the purposes of Summer League, Orsborn tweets. “It’s all about these guys either finding jobs or trying to promote themselves within their current job,” Johnson said. “So that’s good on him.”

Spurs Sign Jeremy Sochan To Rookie Contract

The Spurs have signed forward Jeremy Sochan to a rookie scale contract, according to a team press release.

The lottery pick became the first top-10 selection for San Antonio since Tim Duncan went first overall in 1997. The Spurs used the No. 9 overall pick on Sochan, who played one season at Baylor and was named the Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, averaging 9.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 1.3 SPG while appearing in 30 games.

Assuming the usual 120% rate above rookie scale, Sochan’s four-year deal is worth $23,046,751. He’ll make $5,063,520 during his rookie campaign.

Sochan won’t play in the Summer League after missing all of the team’s pre-Vegas practices due to COVID-19. He also suffered a hamstring injury, Paul Garcia of Project Spurs relays via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The injury occurred prior to the draft, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

This leaves Dyson Daniels (Pelicans) and Walker Kessler (Jazz) as the only unsigned first-round selections.

Southwest Notes: Rockets, McGee, Spurs, Pelicans

When the Rockets became convinced on draft day that the Magic were going to use the first overall pick on Paolo Banchero, Houston made Orlando a trade offer for that No. 1 pick, sources tell Tim MacMahon and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

As MacMahon and Windhorst explain, the Rockets had been expecting to end up with Banchero and had only recently been given Jabari Smith‘s medical information from his agent, Wallace Prather. Bill Duffy, Chet Holmgren‘s agent, told the Rockets he’d only give them Holmgren’s medicals if he got the sense that both Orlando and Oklahoma City were passing on his client.

According to ESPN’s duo, the Rockets were comfortable staying at No. 3 if Smith fell to them, but were worried about having to make a decision on Holmgren without getting much time to look over his medicals, which was why they inquired about moving up. After the Magic turned them down, the Thunder took Holmgren at No. 2, with Smith falling to Houston at No. 3 — all three teams ultimately left the draft happy, and while Banchero and Smith were surprised by where they ended up, neither was upset by the outcome.

“Jabari ended up in a place that fits who he is,” Prather said. “There was nothing but excitement on Jabari’s part about going to Houston. We love their young core. We love the city. We love the passion of their fan base.”

For what it’s worth, Banchero got the upper hand on Smith in their respective Summer League debuts on Thursday, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. The Magic forward scored 17 points in Orlando’s win over Smith and the Rockets.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • A coaching assistant last season with the Rockets, Will Dunn has been promoted to an assistant coach position, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
  • Appearing on ESPN’s NBA Today (video link), Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd confirmed that the plan is to insert newly-signed big man JaVale McGee into the starting five. McGee told ESPN when he agreed to a deal with Dallas last week that he expected to be the team’s starting center.
  • The Spurs ruled out Jeremy Sochan and Joe Wieskamp for the entire Las Vegas Summer League, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). Sochan missed all of the team’s pre-Vegas practices due to COVID-19, while Wieskamp, who remains a restricted free agent for San Antonio, sprained his ankle in a Tuesday practice.
  • Noting that the Pelicans‘ front office has shown a knack for identifying under-the-radar talent, Christian Clark of NOLA.com identifies three players on the team’s Summer League roster who could warrant a longer look from the club.

Spurs Notes: Branham, Wesley, Walker, Sochan, Popovich

Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley impressed the Spurs so much with their competitiveness at a pre-draft workout that the team decided to take both players, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. The two guards were matched up against each other in a 3-on-3 scrimmage and both took advantage of the opportunity.

“I felt like we was competing for a spot, so I was going extra hard and going after him,” Wesley said of Branham. Wesley also tried to outshine Duke’s Wendell Moore, who took part in the scrimmage as well, explaining, “They had a lot more hype than me, so I wanted to go at them.”

General manager Brian Wright said the Spurs expected Branham to be selected in the mid-teens or possibly late in the lottery and were prepared to trade up for him before he fell to No. 20.

“He’s smart, tough, competitive and coachable, and those are all things we were looking to find in this draft,” Wright said.

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • The addition of two guards casts doubt on the future of Lonnie Walker, who is headed for free agency, Orsborn adds in a separate story. The Spurs can make him restricted by extending a $6.3MM qualifying offer by Wednesday, but there may no longer be a role for him in San Antonio. “He has done a phenomenal job in his development over the years and we saw the consistency he brought, especially in the second half of the season when he really hit his stride,” Wright said. “At the appropriate time, we will sit with (his representatives) and him and try to find out what’s next for him and the franchise.”
  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News looks at the international background of lottery pick Jeremy Sochan, who had to learn basketball from his mother because there weren’t many accomplished coaches in the English town where the family lived when he was young. The organization is impressed by Sochan’s versatility and plans to use him all along the front line.
  • Coach Gregg Popovich called each of the Spurs’ draft picks Thursday night to welcome them to the team, McDonald tweets, adding that it’s a pretty clear indication that Popovich plans to return for another season.

Draft Notes: Magic, Sochan, Hardy, Daniels

While such comments typically produce eye rolls, president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman insists the Magic haven’t decided who they’ll take with the top overall pick, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Weltman says “it’s still early in the process,” even though draft night is Thursday. “Dialogue is always ongoing,” Weltman said. “But, most importantly, we get to do what we want. That’s the real benefit of having the No. 1 pick.”

Orlando is expected to draft either Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren.

We have more draft-related info:

  • Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan attended the Wizards’ pre-draft workout on Monday but didn’t participate due to an injury, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Sochan sat out with a mild hamstring strain. Washington owns the No. 1o pick. Sochan is ranked No. 15 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy, ranked No. 22 by ESPN, worked out for the Sixers on Monday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. St. Joseph’s forward Jordan Hall, Delaware guard Kevin Anderson, Alabama guard Keon Ellis, Baylor wing Kendall Brown and UNLV shooting guard Bryce Hamilton joined him, Pompey adds in another tweet. Philadelphia owns the No. 23 pick.
  • G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels cancelled a visit with the Kings after receiving a green room invitation, Sean Cunningham of KTXL tweets. Daniels is ranked No. 6 by ESPN. Daniels is the second-ranked point guard behind Jaden Ivey, who revealed that he hasn’t had contact with the team holding the No. 4 pick.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Blazers, Wolves, Nuggets

Sources told Tony Jones of The Athletic that “there is a world where the Jazz keep most of their top-seven core with the hope that a new coach energizes them.” Jones explores the potential cost of a Rudy Gobert trade to Chicago with fellow Athletic writer Darnell Mayberry, but stresses that Gobert won’t be traded just for the sake of shaking up the roster, noting that the asking price for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year will be very high.

Utah is casting an extremely wide net as they seek a replacement for Quin Snyder. As our head coaching search tracker shows, Sam Cassell became the 15th candidate linked to the Jazz after it was reported that he’ll interview for the vacancy.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • The Trail Blazers are hosting a pre-draft workout with six prospects on Wednesday, including a couple of potential lottery picks, tweets Aaron J. Fentress of The Oregonian. Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 7 prospect on ESPN’s big board, headlines the group, followed by Jeremy Sochan (No. 15), Dalen Terry (No. 25), John Butler (No. 67), Jamaree Bouyea (No. 79) and Jordan Hall (No. 87). Portland holds the Nos. 7, 36 and 59 picks in the draft.
  • The Timberwolves are also hosting workout of draft-eligible players on Wednesday, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). The group features multiple potential second-round picks, including Hugo Besson (No. 41 on ESPN’s board), Michael Foster Jr. (No. 49), Jean Montero (No. 52) and Gabe Brown (No. 78). It also includes Nysier Brooks, who is unranked, and David Roddy (No. 30), as Wolfson previously reported. The Wolves hold the Nos. 19, 40, 48 and 50 picks, but aren’t expected to have four rookies on the roster next season.
  • Peyton Watson (No. 34) headlines a group of six prospects working out for the Nuggets on Thursday, as Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports relays (via Twitter). The other five players are Florida’s Anthony Duruji, UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton, Flagler’s Jaizec Lottie, Marquette’s Darryl Morsell and Buffalo’s Ronaldo Segu, all of whom project to go undrafted and are unranked on ESPN’s board. After reaching an agreement to trade JaMychal Green to the Thunder, Denver now controls the Nos. 21 and 30 picks in the 2022 draft.

California Notes: Diabate, Sochan, Reaves, Green

The Kings worked out Michigan center Moussa Diabate on Tuesday, per Andrew Slater of Pro Insight (via Twitter). Sacramento holds the Nos. 4, 37 and 49 picks in next week’s 2022 draft. Diabate is ranked as the No. 70 prospect on the ESPN big board.

The 6’11” big man was voted onto the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in his lone NCAA year. Slater adds that Diabate logged the best vertical of all center prospects, 36.5″, at the pre-draft combine in Chicago. Through 32 games with the Wolverines, Diabate averaged 9.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 0.9 BPG during 24.9 MPG during the 2021/22 season.

There’s more out of California:

  • Among first-round candidates, Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan worked out for the Kings on Sunday, per Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Anderson notes that the 19-year-old is among the top defensive players in the 2022 draft. During his lone college season, the 6’9″ combo forward averaged 9.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.3 SPG and 0.7 BPG in 30 contests. ESPN lists Sochan as the No. 15 pro prospect on its latest big board.
  • Lakers rookie Austin Reaves had quite the first NBA season. After going undrafted in 2021 out of Oklahoma, he latched on with L.A. and soon found himself earning the praise of All-NBA forward LeBron JamesDan Woike of the Los Angeles Times takes an in-depth look at the development of the 6’5″ shooting guard. Though Woike writes that Reaves had received some interest in the second round of the draft, Reaves and his representation demanded a guaranteed contract from any team with interest in taking him. His preferred destination was Los Angeles, and when he fell out of the draft, Reaves eventually signed with the Lakers on a two-way contract. The team promoted Reaves ahead of the regular season to a standard two-year deal. “When you have an opportunity to see the arc of a player, to discover him in the scouting process, bringing him in for workouts, acquiring him, developing him and bringing him along, seeing that arc is really satisfying,” team president Rob Pelinka said. Through 61 games, including 19 starts, Reaves averaged 7.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 1.8 APG in 23.2 MPG for the Lakers.
  • All-Star Warriors forward Draymond Green played a big part in Golden State’s critical 104-94 Game 5 Finals win over the Celtics on Monday thanks to his disruptive defensive pressure and offensive court sense, per Marcus Thompson II. Though Green scored just eight points on a respectable 3-of-6 shooting from the floor, he also notched eight rebounds, six assists, and a steal. Thompson reports that Boston players converted just 7-of-23 (30.4%) of their looks with Green defending them during the series’ past two contests, both Warriors wins. Those players otherwise connect on 49.3% of their attempts from the floor. “I felt more like myself… aggressive on both ends of the ball,” the 32-year-old Green said. “I look forward to going into Game 6 with the same energy and effort.”

Draft Notes: Green Room, Draft Targets, Comps, Mock, Minott

The list of prospects invited to the green room on draft night has expanded to 16, tweets ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. The list includes all of the top-16 ranked players on ESPN’s big boardChet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Dyson DanielsShaedon Sharpe, Bennedict Mathurin, AJ Griffin, Jalen Duren, Johnny Davis, Ousmane DiengMalaki BranhamMark Williams, Jeremy Sochan and Ochai Agbaji.

A source tells Givony that the list could expand further, with four more invites still a possibility. The draft is nine days away.

Here are some more draft-related notes: