Jeremy Sochan’s first workout with an NBA team came Saturday in Oklahoma City, 265 miles from where he was born in the panhandle town of Guymon.
“I think it’s pretty funny,” Sochan told The Oklahoman on Monday.
Sochan, whose parents played college basketball at Oklahoma Panhandle State, is likely to be a lottery pick in the June 23 NBA Draft. The Thunder owns the No. 2 and No. 12 picks — the second of which is in the range of where the 6-foot-9 forward from Baylor is projected to be taken.
“It’s definitely been one of the teams that we’ve really looked at,” Sochan said. “They’re a very young team, very good at development … The organization’s great, and I feel like it’s a place to work and get better and focus really on basketball. I think it’d be a great fit for me.”
Sochan arrived in Oklahoma City on Friday before working out with the team Saturday.
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“During that whole process I had dinner with Sam Presti and talked a lot with Coach Mark (Daigneault),” Sochan said.
Sochan said he was put through a gauntlet of individual drills.
“They got after me,” he said. “I think they tried to challenge me mentally — get me tired and see how I can show resilience, see how I can play through fatigue and pressure. I think in general it was great for me, and I think for them as well to see my resilience and that I can work through tough moments.”
Being drafted by the Thunder would be a roundabout return to Oklahoma for Sochan, whose British accent would be a touch out of place in Guymon.
Sochan grew up and has lived most of his life in England. His mom is Polish, which is why Sochan has represented the Polish national team.
The first NBA game Sochan attended, fittingly enough, was an exhibition game in 2013 between the Thunder and 76ers in Manchester, England.
Sochan went to high school in the US for one year, in LaPorte, Indiana, and he enrolled at Baylor as a four-star prospect in the 2021 class.
As a freshman at Baylor last season, Sochan averaged 25 minutes per game off the bench. He averaged 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and combined for two steals plus blocks per game.
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Offensively, Sochan profiles as a savvy playmaking big with a questionable jump shot. He shot 30% from 3-point range on three attempts per game.
“I can be a playmaker from the four position kind of like a Draymond Green,” Sochan said.
While Sochan is a smart and crafty passer like Green, it’s Sochan’s Green-esque defensive instincts that will make him a first-round pick.
Sochan is fluid for his size, and he has the footwork and smarts to switch onto smaller guards. And at 230 pounds, Sochan is big enough to bang in the post. He’s also a high-effort rebounder.
Sochan very much fits the positionless NBA, which the Thunder has trended toward.
There is the risk, however, that Sochan never develops a reliable jump shot. If that’s the case, he would join a Thunder team that already ranks last in 3-point shooting.
“Offensively of course I have to improve my shot and my ball handling,” Sochan said. “That’s one of the things I’ve been really working on during this process is becoming more consistent with my shot and getting into the mechanics.”
Sochan has other workouts lined up in the next two weeks before the draft, but he left Oklahoma City feeling confident.
“I showed them what I could bring to the table in this league,” Sochan said.
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2022 NBA Draft
7 pm Thursday, June 23 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY (ESPN)