Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan wasn’t expected to “one-and-done” while in college, but he emerged from his freshman season as a projected lottery pick.
Sochan, who just turned 19 years old last month, already has experience as the youngest player to ever play for the Polish national team. He is listed at 6-foot-9 with a reported 7-foot wingspan, and after winning Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, he projects as an impactful defensive prospect who may make an immediate impact.
His assignments shot just 19-for-84 (22.6%) when Sochan was the nearest defender on their jumpers, per Synergy. Opponents also shot 13.4% worse from the midrange when Sochan was on the floor relative to when he was not, according to CBB Analytics.
Although his game on offense is less polished, he still has a lot of promise. He is an above-average passer for his position and he managed to shoot 75% at the rim, and he was particularly efficient when cutting to the basket.
Sochan was a low-usage player on offense who mostly finished as a spot-up shooter on the perimeter, and his jump shot could still use some work. While his low free-throw percentage was a cause for concern, scouts are encouraged by his mechanics, and he was effective from the top of the key and midrange, especially near the baseline.
The freshman has brought his colorful hair and personality to the pre-draft process. He told us that he plans to “bring positive energy” to whatever team selects him in the draft and based on what we have seen thus far, that should come naturally to him.
To see for yourself, you can watch our full interview with Sochan:
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
You turned 19 years old at the NBA Draft Combine. How was that experience?
Jeremy Sochan: Birthday week was in Chicago. I was invited, lucky, to the NBA Combine. I was there for the full week and I did media, we had the lottery. Of course, I interviewed with teams. I didn’t take part in the five-on-five or the shooting drills or any of that. But it was still a busy week. My birthday was on the 20th. We had our pro day. I did interviews. It was a fun day! Then, we went to a nice Italian spot with the whole agency, so it was a great day.
I’ve heard you’re one of the best interviews with teams. Why are you standing out?
Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan is among my favorite prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft.
His performance at the Tandem Sports + Entertainment pro day tonight (his 19th birthday) further affirmed that.
Big, versatile, high-energy forward oozing w/ potential.
Mid-lottery caliber talent. pic.twitter.com/3UtrQNDisb
— Jon Chepkevich (@JonChep) May 21, 2022
Sochan: This is the first time they’re really going to see you in an environment like this. So the most important thing is to look good, to smell good, to act appropriately. It’s about looking fresh and comfortable. When you’re comfortable with how you’re dressed, that’s when you look the best. There’s no crazy secret sauce or anything. That’s an important thing and even without saying anything, it says a lot about the way you act and your personality and all of that. I emphasize that. In these interviews, I wanted to be myself, stay true to myself, don’t try to do too much. It was important for me to be myself and not try to force things.
What are some of the things you tell teams when they ask you about yourself?
Get me back in a White & Red Jersey 😩 I miss it! Got different hair this time ;) 🤍❤️ pic.twitter.com/djSpmIXlA1
— Jeremy Sochan (@SochanJeremy) May 21, 2022
Sochan: My background is very unique. My mom is Polish, my dad is American. I lived in England most of my life. I played for the Polish national team while living in England. We traveled all over Europe. We played in many countries. All of that helped me grow not only as a player but also as a person. I’m just open to a lot of different people, cultures, and experiences. It helped me open my eyes to have a bigger perspective on life.
I’m a guy who’s a sponge on and off the court. I see things, whether it’s art or fashion or music or anything, and I’m like: I like this. I can maybe implement this into what I do. It can be anything that affects me daily can influence me, but I can influence others. It’s a fun way to live and I learn a lot from it. It’s just about being free and learning from others, and that’s important to me.
How did it help you to play against top international talent on the Polish national team?
Sochan: I think it’s huge. The physicality, of course, is going to be different from the youth stage. The level of the game — the IQ, reading plays — requires you to be sharp at that stage. I’m looking at other professionals, talking to them, being a sponge. That really helped me and I think you can see now that it really helped me, especially at the college level.
I remember a few people telling me the college level is fast and physical. Of course, I’m not saying it’s not. It is very physical — especially the Big 12. But I feel like, after experiencing Europe, it helped me with that. Europe has a very physical game. They don’t call a lot of fouls. I think that really helped me and made the adjustment a lot quicker for me at the college level.
When you are on the floor, in what ways are you able to impact the game?
Sochan: I think it’s about being versatile and being able to affect the team not only by scoring but also by rebounding, having assists, and finding something else you can do for the team. For me, defense is the main thing. But also, I do the little things you can’t see in the box score or the stat sheet, like deflections or jumping for loose balls. That also helps a team have a little bit of leverage on the other team. I think it’s being versatile, and being ready to do anything for the team. That’s really important for me, and that’s what I try to execute every game I play.
Why was it so hard for opponents to beat you one-on-one and off the dribble?
Sochan: I think it’s just being active. I’m trying to be that disruptive player like Draymond Green, Patrick Beverley, and Jae Crowder. They all have one thing in common and it’s being irritating. Being long and athletic and disruptive, that’s what I try to show in my game and my defense. It helps to get some players off rhythm. I just try to execute that as well.
Those guys all talk trash. If you do, are people ever surprised by your accent?
Sochan: When I get into it, yeah. I will talk. Sometimes you won’t be able to see it, but I will be talking to the player. The number of times they’re like: “Oh, where are you from?” And I’m like: “You didn’t do your scout?” [Laughs]
On the other side of the ball, why was it so hard for opponents to stop you at the rim?
Jeremy Sochan isn't a great space creator but he is so good at attacking the rim. Really good footwork, balance, and strength. Uses angles well and is an impressive interior passer. pic.twitter.com/cnvJXe2g0T
— Tyler Metcalf (@tmetcalf11) March 1, 2022
Sochan: It was about reading the defense and knowing when to cut and when to finish around the rim. If you can see that, that’ll make your game so much more efficient. Being able to finish with both hands, being athletic helps a lot with finishing around the rim and cuts to the basket. So I think that all helped.
You are young, but do you feel you can have an immediate impact in the NBA?
Cut up a couple ridiculous sequences from Jeremy Sochan guarding on the perimeter
Potential all-defense guy down the line, IMO pic.twitter.com/Qmrf3hTUKA
— Draft Dummies (@DraftDummies) May 3, 2022
Sochan: Definitely! I think I can impact the game tomorrow. Even from watching the playoffs on TV, and I’ve also watched in real life, I feel like I’ll be able to impact the game defensively straightaway. You can tell that these games, during these playoffs especially, have been really physical. It’s been the little things that change the games and make other players better. I want to be that guy who is going to be irritating, going to be a defender. I have a personality. I’m always going to bring positive energy to the organization and the people of that city. I’m going to be there for them, and for my teammates. I’m going to get better every day.
What are some of the developments you feel you need to make in your game?
Believe Jeremy Sochan will be the best wing/forward defender in the 2022 draft class with defensive value in line with guys such as Scottie Barnes or Herb Jones at similar ages. Needs to smoothen out the shot but his IQ on both ends shines through his film every time I watch.
— HoopsWill (@HoopsWill) April 30, 2022
Sochan: To me, it’s about staying in the present. I don’t want to think too ahead of myself or dwell in the past. For me, it’s about getting better every day for that next step. Of course, on offense, it’s about becoming even more versatile and even more of a threat. I need to get my shot consistency up. I need to become a better ball handler. That’s important. But overall, I have a great chance to do great things and affect a team straightaway. Anything can happen. I’m not going to limit myself. What can happen is exciting. I’m just going to keep it that way.
What is the most underrated aspect of your game?
Jeremy Sochan (my favorite prospect) is the ultimate Swiss Army knife.
But his comfort and ability on the ball is underrated as someone who can play small ball 5 pic.twitter.com/upVHdNnMuL
— Ryan Hammer (@ryanhammer09) April 30, 2022
Sochan: That’s a good one. I feel like I’m a great passer. I feel like I’m a big guy who can average a lot of assists on a team. So it’s definitely my playmaking. But with my shot, I feel I didn’t show as much as I could. I do have the touch. I do have the shot. It’s just about becoming more consistent and showing people that. The most important thing is to get addicted to my habits. I want to keep the shots the same. Repetition, repetition, repetition. It’s about building up that muscle memory to make that shot perfect.
How do you rate your desire to get better? Do you have that hunger?
Sochan: It’s interesting when people say I won’t be able to shoot at the next level or my free-throw percentage isn’t going to get better. That really is underestimating me. My midrange was better, which projects I won’t be a bad shooter. It kind of excites me and makes me smile to prove people wrong that I can shoot and that I can be that offensive threat.
What are some of the things you like to do when you’re not playing basketball?
Sochan: It’s funny. I was actually meant to go to the zoo today. [Laughs] I love animals. I kept seeing animal videos on Instagram. I was watching a journalist go to Congo. I was like… Okay, it’s time to go to the zoo. But it was raining so I didn’t go. Hopefully, I can do it tomorrow or the next day. I like nature. Animals are really cool to me. I used to collect National Geographic cards and I would have a massive folder and collect them all. It’s really interesting to me.
But I’m just really open to different stuff. I do love video games, movies, films, fashion, and art. Musically, I love Sampha. He is one of my favorite artists. He’s an English artist who makes R&B and soul. He’s great and he’s one of my favorites, for sure. With visual arts, I like Dalí. His art really speaks to me. I’m really open to everything, except for country music. But I did buy some cowboy boots when I was living in Texas.
Cowboy boots! I love it. Do you have a favorite sneaker?
Sochan: Oh, dang! Probably the Nike Sacai Collection. I have two pairs. Actually, I have three pairs. But I want more.
Do you think you come off as different from other NBA draft prospects?
Sochan: I think so! I feel like it helps not only me but also other people who look up to me. I already do, but when I get to the NBA, my impact off the court for kids is going to get even bigger. Just being myself, it shows people they can be themselves. You don’t have to fit any description. There is no script to becoming a basketball player. It’s about being yourself and being comfortable with yourself. I think it will help me long-term, and I think being yourself is always important.
How many NBA teams have NOT asked you about your hair?
I asked Jeremy Sochan what color his hair would be on draft night. He had huge smile and said, “I don’t think I can tell you that. It’s going to be good though.”
— Krysten Peek (@krystenpeek) May 19, 2022
Sochan: [Laughs] I think everyone did! So, yup. I don’t mind it, though. It’s fun to talk to everyone and explain why I do it.