Meet Baylor star freshman Jeremy Sokan

Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan wasn’t expected to be “once and for all” in college, but he emerged from his freshman season as a projected lottery pick.

Sochan, who turned 19 last month, has become the youngest player in the Polish national team. Reportedly 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot wingspan, he is projected to be an impactful defensive player that could make an immediate impact after winning the Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year.

According to Synergy, when Sochan was their closest defender on jump shots, he was only 19-for-84 (22.6 percent) on his assignment. Opponents also shoot 13.4 percent less from the mid-range when Sochan is on the floor than when he isn’t, according to CBB Analytics.

Although his game on offense is less than perfect, he still has a lot of hope. He’s an above-average passer for his position, hitting 75 percent of his shots at the rim, and he’s particularly efficient when cutting to the rim.

Sokan is a low-usage player on offense, spending most of his time as a spot-up shooter from the perimeter, and his jumper still needs some work. While his low free-throw percentage is a concern, scouts are encouraged by his skills and the fact that he’s effective from mid- and mid-range, especially around the baseline.

The freshman brought his colorful hair and personality to the pre-draft process. He told us he plans to “bring positive energy” to any team that selects him in the draft, which should come naturally to him based on what we’ve seen so far.

To see for yourself, you can watch our full interview with Sochan:

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Jeremy Sokan: Birthday week is in Chicago. Fortunately, I was invited to the NBA Combine. I was there for a whole week, I did the media, we had the lottery. Of course, I interviewed the team. I didn’t do five-on-five or shooting training or anything. But it’s still a busy week. My birthday is the 20th. We had a career day. I have done interviews. What a fun day! Then we went to a nice Italian location with the whole establishment, so it was a great day.

Sochan: This is the first time they will actually see you in such an environment. So the most important thing is to look good, smell good and act well. It’s about looking fresh and comfortable. When you’re happy with what you’re wearing, that’s when you look your best. No crazy secret sauce or anything. This is an important thing, and even if nothing is said, it says a lot about the way you behave and your personality and so on. I stress this point. In these interviews, I want to be who I am, be true to myself, and not try to do too much. It’s important to me to be myself and not try to force things.

Sochan: My background is very unique. My mom is Polish and my dad is American. I have lived in the UK for most of my life. I played for the Polish national team while living in England. We traveled all over Europe. We play in many countries. All of this helped me grow not only as a player but as a person. I’m just open to many different people, cultures and experiences. It has helped me open my eyes to a broader perspective on life.

I’m a sponge on and off the court guy. What I see, whether it’s art, fashion, music or anything, I love: I like this. I might be able to implement this in my work. Anything that affects me every day can affect me, but I can affect others. It’s a fun way of life and I’ve learned a lot from it. It’s just about freedom and learning from others, which is important to me.

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Sochan: I think it’s huge. Of course, the physical condition will be different from the youth stage. The level of the game – IQ, reading scripts – requires you to be sharp at that stage. I’m looking for other professionals, talk to them and be a sponge. This has really helped me, and I think you can see now that it has really helped me, especially in college.

I remember several people telling me that college level was fast and physical. Of course, I’m not saying no. It’s very physical – especially Big 12. But I think it helped me after going through Europe. Europe has a very physical game. They don’t foul more than once. I think it really helped me to settle in faster in college.

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Sochan: I think it’s about being versatile and being able to impact the team, not just by scoring, but by rebounding, assisting and finding other things that can be done for the team. For me, defense is the most important thing. Also, I’ll do little things you don’t see in box scoring or stats like deflecting or jumping loose balls. It also helps one team have a little leverage over the other. I think it’s versatile and ready to do anything for the team. It’s really important to me and it’s every game I try to execute.

(AP Photo/Charlie Riddle)

Sochan: I think it’s just active. I’m trying to be a disruptive player like Draymond Green, Patrick Beverley and Jae Crowder. They all have one thing in common, which is annoying. Length, athleticism and destructiveness, that’s what I try to show in my game and defense. It helps put some players out of rhythm. I also just try to execute it.

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Sochan: When I got into it, yes. I would say. Sometimes you won’t be able to see it, but I’ll talk to the players. Number of times they liked: “Oh, where? you from? “I thought: “You didn’t do your scout?” ” [Laughs]

Sochan: It’s about reading defenses and knowing when to cut and when to finish at the rim. If you can see this, it will make your game more efficient. Able to finish games with both hands, athleticism helps finish games at the rim and cut to the rim. So I think it all helps.

Sochan: really! I think I can influence tomorrow’s game. Even watching the playoffs on TV, I watched it in real life, and I felt like I could directly impact the game on the defensive end. You can tell these games, especially during the playoffs, are really physical. It’s these little things that change the game and make other players better. I want to be that annoying guy, be a defender. I have a personality. I always bring positive energy to the organization and the people of that city. I will serve them and my teammates. I get better every day.

Sochan: For me, this is living in the moment. I don’t want to think too far ahead, and I don’t want to dwell on the past. For me, it’s about getting better every day for the next step. Offensively, of course, it becomes more complete and even more threatening. I need to improve my shooting consistency. I need to be a better ball handler. This is important. But overall, I have a great opportunity to do great things and directly impact the team. Anything can happen. I don’t limit myself. What’s possible is exciting. I just want to keep it that way.

Sochan: This is a good one. I think I’m a great passer. I feel like I’m a big man who can average a lot of assists on the team. So this is definitely my game. But in my shots, I don’t feel like I’m showing as much performance. I do have contact. I do have a chance. It’s just about being more consistent and showing people that. The most important thing is to be addicted to my habit. I want to keep the lens the same. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s about building muscle memory to get the perfect shot.

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Sochan: It’s funny when people say I can’t shoot at the next level or that my free throw percentage isn’t going to get better. This is so underestimating me. My mid-range is better, which shows that I’m not going to be a bad shooter. It excites me, makes me smile to prove people wrong, that I can shoot and I can be that offensive threat.

Sochan: It’s interesting. I was going to go to the zoo today. [Laughs] I like animals. I keep seeing animal videos on Instagram. I’m watching a journalist go to Congo. I am like… Alright, time to go to the zoo. But I didn’t go because it was raining. Hopefully I can do it tomorrow or the day after. I like nature. Animals are really cool to me.I used to collect National Geographic Cards, I would have a huge folder and collect them all. This is really fun for me.

But I’m really open to something different. I do love video games, movies, movies, fashion and art. Musically, I like Sampha. He is one of my favorite artists. He is a British artist producing R&B and soul. He’s great, of course, he’s one of my favorites. In the visual arts, I like Dalí. His art really speaks to me. I’m open to everything except country music. But I did buy some cowboy boots when I lived in Texas.

Sochan: Oh damn! Probably the Nike Sacai line. I have two pairs. Actually, I have a triple double. But I want more.

Sochan: I agree! I find it helpful not only to me, but to other people who look up to me. I’ve done that, but when I’m in the NBA, my impact on the kids off the court is going to get bigger. Just being myself, it shows people that they can be themselves. You don’t have to fit any description. There is no script to be a basketball player. It’s about being yourself and being comfortable with yourself. I think it helps me in the long run and I think it’s always important to be yourself.

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