Jeremy Sochan (Pronounced So-Han) is a defensively oriented forward who spent just one season at the University of Baylor. He will turn 19 tomorrow and enter this year’s draft with potential to be a lottery pick. Despite only playing one season of college hoops, Sochan left a lasting impact on the program. He won Big-12 Sixth Man of The Year, made the Big 12 All-Freshman Team, and displayed why he was considered a top-100 (90) prospect coming out of high school.
Question marks regarding Jeremy’s ability on the offensive side of the ball may see him slide into the Denver Nuggets’ draft range. With the 21st overall selection in the 2022 NBA draft, Sochan would offer a combination of youth, upside, and some NBA ready attributes that suggest he can contribute to a winning team from day one. In the back half of the first round of the draft, prospect’s possessing all of these qualities become harder to find. If Sochan does slide to the 21st pick, would it be wise of the Nuggets’ to acquire him?
Jeremy Sochan, Forward, Baylor
Age: 19 (5/20/2003)
Career Per Game Statistics
Sochan combines great size at 6’9”, 230 pounds, and a 7’0” wingspan with quick lateral movements, allowing him to switch and defend effectively across the opposition’s entire lineup. Baylor deployed a heavy switch defensive scheme and Jeremy thrived in it. He showcased this ability on his way to an outstanding 89.8 defensive rating and 4.4 DBPM, both ranking top-6 in the entire Big-12 Conference.
He wasn’t just excellent as on-ball defender, however, he also routinely made quick rotations, controlled close outs and plenty of timely steals while reacting to the offensive action away from the ball. His feel and I.Q. on defense are advanced for his age and he profiles as someone that will be able to guard multiple, and potentially every position in the Association.
While he isn’t a particularly flashy finisher, Sochan was efficient at the rim last season. He converted an impressive 67.2% of his half-court attempts, displaying solid touch along the way. As a ball handler, Jeremy’s 1.8/1.6 assist to turnover ratio doesn’t do justice to his playmaking ability. He doesn’t have the handle to break defenders down off the dribble, but he’s comfortable and secure enough with the ball in his hands to attack closeouts effectively, as well as handle the ball in transition. He’s a decisive and accurate passer that rarely didn’t keep the ball popping for Baylor last season.
Another aspect of Sochan’s game that stands out on tape is his relentless motor. If Sochan gets beat on a play, it’s never going to be because he gave up or that he just was too tired to close out on a shooter. While this can contribute to occasional foul trouble, it’s also infectious and something all coaches want out of their players. If he can just be a bit more disciplined while maintaining this aggressive approach, the former Baylor Bear’s motor could prove incredibly valuable.
Sochan converted on just 29.6% of his three point attempts last season and this percentage was hurt by his struggles to create space off dribble and hit long range shots off balance. His shooting form probably doesn’t need an overhaul, but it could use some refinement to be sped up. His mere 58.9% conversion rate from the free throw line doesn’t help his projection as a three pointer shooter in the Association either.
When given time and space to get off a clean shot, Schohan was solid, evident in his 36% conversion rate from three on catch and shoot attempts. As purely a catch and shoot option, Sochan has potential, but I wouldn’t expect him to develop a reliable off-the-dribble jump shot anytime soon.
Lack of elite athleticism may limit his upside
This isn’t to suggest Sochan isn’t a good athlete. His movements are pretty fluid on both ends of the floor and he isn’t going to look physically outmatched by NBA athleticism. At the same time, his speed and leaping ability are rarely going to stand out at the next level. Skill and timing can make up for these disadvantages, but unless you’re a generational talent, that will only get you so far.
Despite all the positives of Jeremy’s defensive game, he will likely not be a lockdown defender from the moment he steps on an NBA court, as rookies almost never are. He can be a bit too aggressive and struggle with foul trouble at times. His rim protection may also have trouble translating to the next level due to his lack of elite verticality as a leaper. That being said, Sochan still projects as one of the best defenders in the 2022 NBA draft class and has a higher floor and ceiling than most prospects on this end of the court.
Projected Draft Range: Late lottery - mid first round
Denver Stiffs Big Board: 12th overall
NBA Comparison: Kyle Anderson
Jeremy Sochan may never be strong enough to consistently hang with NBA bigs down low or be able to stay in front of the quickest perimeter players, but his high motor, size, and advanced I.Q. have me convinced he will be no worse than a slight positive defensively at the next level. His ceiling is considerably lower on offense, but his versatility as a ball handler and finisher make him an intriguing option. If his jump shot becomes more consistent, there’s a positive 2-way player in the waiting.
The Nuggets current roster is clearly geared more toward offense than defense and I believe it would be wise to invest in potential plus defenders to surround their core. Looking longer term, they should also be hoping for a player with future starter potential. Sochan provides both that defensive upside and a potential starting defensive option at forward by the end of his rookie contract. This is also why he’s projected to go before the Nugget’s selection. I wouldn’t count on Sochan being available when the Nuggets are on the board, but we’ve seen enough players slide that I’m not completely ruling it out. Jeremy’s offensive limitations make him a player I probably wouldn’t give up much to trade up for, but he would be an incredible option with the 21st overall selection.