CHICAGO — When Jeremy Sochan started his basketball career a few years ago, his mother, Aneta, gave him a message: “Be cheeky.”
“I’ve always had a little edge,” Sokan said Friday. “My mom, she was my first coach, and to this day she tells me defense comes first. … She used to tell me to be cheeky and be able to watch the play two steps ahead. So , I think, cheeky, maybe get into people’s space and can separate their game and they can play worse. There are examples: Draymond (Green), Patrick (Beverley), Zhu (Holiday), so There’s a lot. I feel like I can be a part of the next step.”
The next step for forward Sochan from Baylor, who turns 19 on Friday, is coming to Wintrust Arena for an interview with NBA Draft Combine teams that have seen him quickly become a potential lottery pick, as well as career day training by his agency. Presented by Tandem Sports + Entertainment. Led by veteran agent and attorney Jim Tanner, Tandem represents a number of NBA players, including Ja Morant, Jarrett Allen and Desmond Bane, as well as Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers Tim Duncan, Grant Hill and Tamika Catchings.
At the end of January, our NBA draft guru Sam Vecenie had Sochan at No. 29 on his big-name list. But after Sochan played a strong second half for the then-defending champion Bears, his stock went to Pluto. He was ranked No. 9 in Vecenie’s latest board, released earlier this month. There’s no guarantee Sochan will make the top 10; some teams still place him in the mid-teens. But he’s definitely a player in the first half of the first round right now. He has the modern wing defender the NBA wants. Switchability. length. great feet.
17 career days are scheduled during the combine harvester. Some, like Shaedon Sharpe’s training, Mystery Man in this year’s draft, is a solo performance. Massive agency Excel, on the other hand, has 24 players scheduled to work out together on Saturday’s Pro Day.
Tandem is in the middle: There are eight players in Friday’s practice. Tandem’s other clients include Iowa guard Izaiah Brockington, who is a CJ Myles type with more springs; Brigham Young guard Alex Barcelo, who has an amazing relationship with longtime NBA starter Kirk Hinrich Murray State linebacker Tevin Brown; Georgetown forward Aminu Mohamed; Florida State Big Malik Osborn; and multiple international players.
But Sochan is the main attraction.
Sochan’s origin story is extraordinary, even for the NBA. Both his parents played basketball in Oklahoma’s second division Panhandle State, but Sokan grew up in England, where his late father Ryan Williams played for the Reading Rockets and Bristol Flyers. His mother immigrated to the Panhandle from Poland when she was a point guard for SKK Polonia Warszawa in Warsaw. Jeremy started playing in England as a child. With his mother’s Polish nationality, he was able to play for the Poland under-16 national team and then became the youngest member of the Polish national team. He then came to America on his own, attending high school in La Lumiere, Indiana, before going to Baylor.
“I’m just saying I’m a citizen of the world,” Sochan said. “I have a very unique background. …I’ve really experienced new people, new coaches. I think being a citizen of the world is the best way to describe it. Whenever people say, ‘Where are you from? “That’s a tough question. I thought, “Good question.” “It takes a long time to explain that.”
Representatives from the Grizzlies, Wizards, Magic, Pistons, Knicks, Bulls, Pelicans, Bucks and Spurs attended Friday’s meeting. The Spurs and Knicks were among the teams interviewing him this week. Sochamp gushed about meeting Manu Ginobili, who was part of San Antonio’s entourage in Chicago. Training hasn’t changed many people’s perceptions of Sochan, 6-9, who is a MLB 12 Sixth Man of the Year, a MLB 12 Honorable Mention inductee, and a member of the MLB rookie team, though his numbers aren’t high . (9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists). Sochan’s game evolves as he develops colorful hairstyle did this season.
His ticket to the NBA’s green room on June 23 is his defense, being able to switch from one to five and disrupt beautiful offense routines game after game. He saw in himself “a young Boris Diaw, a little bit of Jimmy Butler – just a lot of versatile players on both sides of the court who impacted the game, not even scoring in the box but doing Little things that touch people’s skin. Also just being that nasty player.”
Baylor’s injury forced him to play a small five, which he accepted quickly.
“The things he’s really good at — defense, running, pick-and-roll — he’s not going to do that here,” said one senior personnel officer on the floor. “But it showed us how hard he was shooting the ball.”
Honestly, the job was a hit on Friday, though Tandem’s acting director Gilbert Abraham pushed the positivity when Sochan splayed wide or stood in the corner for a 3-pointer. Sochan and his cohorts ran Spain, the pick-and-roll and many other classic half-court games in the NBA.
“Don’t rush, don’t rush — down, hold on. It’s the wrist,” Abraham told Sokan as he looked for a corner three. But he’s shooting slightly less than the easiest 3-pointer an NBA team wants in most workouts. Still, even though Sokan shot less than 30 percent from 3-point range at Baylor, his shot was far from broken. He was able to put the ball on the deck. And he should definitely have no trouble getting to the rim at the next level.
“He looks really good to me,” another team executive said Saturday.
Sokan later made 4 3-pointers on key top shots, then forced Abraham into the paint before hitting a running hook — something Sokan also needs to master in the NBA.
“Next time I’m going to throw that thing back to England,” Abraham told Sokan after driving. “Next time I’ll throw it back to Poland.”
People in the NBA sit quietly in practice. They rarely talk to each other, even in whispers. But one shouted, “Let’s go to a birthday!” When Sochan finished a workout, he had to start by standing, dunking over and over again.
An hour later, Sochan’s day was over. His shot wasn’t as good as he hoped, but he did what he had to do. Tanner has been doing this for decades. He knew who to ask for the naked truth. Sochan did a great job. He will return to Frisco, Texas, where he is training, and continue to work on his shooting before starting the final leg of his journey: in June, just before the draft, for individual workouts for the team.
“We did a little bit (defense) at the end, through two-on-two, the screen worked, but you can’t really show too much,” Sochan said after the show. I think they’ll take that into consideration and when I’m in team training, I’ll be able to show a little more. No matter who picks me, I can prove it in training and games. “
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(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)