“I have the chance to declare myself for the 2022 NBA Draft,” said Sochan, the Lead #14 in the ESPN 100, told ESPN.
He said he would sign Jim Tanner and Deirunas Visockas of Tandem Sports.
Sochan was named Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, Honorable Mention All-Big 12 and made the Big 12 All-Freshman team after averaging 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 25 minutes per game last season. He helped Baylor to a 27-7 record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, establishing himself as one of the best defensemen in college play along the way.
“This season has had a lot of ups and downs,” Sochan said. “We were unlucky with injuries, but it was a great opportunity for me to grow and an opportunity to show the NBA my tenacity and versatility on both sides. I started this season with the intention to improve myself and help the team win.”
Sochan comes from a unique background, born to an American father and a Polish mother in Oklahoma, where they both played college basketball at Division II Panhandle State. Sochan moved to England at a young age, where he spent most of his life.
He broke into Division B of the FIBA Europe U16 Championship in 2019, earning MVP honors and guiding Poland to a first-place finish. He moved to La Lumière School in Indiana in the United States soon after but, due to the pandemic, he chose to return to Europe, joining Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany for his senior year. He then committed to Baylor on offers from Kansas, Michigan State, Arizona and others.
Sochan was the youngest ever player to play for the Polish senior national team in the FIBA Eurobasket Qualifiers in February 2021, scoring 18 points in a win over Romania.
“I may be the only player in this draft who has played in an American high school, in Europe against men and in college at the NCAA level,” Sochan said. “This experience has been extremely useful to me on and off the pitch. I think my ability to work hard, learn and adapt quickly will make it easier for me to grow.”
At 6-foot-10, 229 pounds and with a 7-0 wingspan, Sochan played various roles for Baylor, slipping between small forward, power forward and center positions as injuries forced the Bears to shuffle. alignments and adjust their style of play.
Although not initially considered a surefire candidate, Sochan’s energy, competitiveness, defensive versatility and toughness helped him become a potential lottery pick in Big 12 play. He was regularly loaded moving to guards and wings in Baylor’s aggressive defensive schemes, while showing increasingly polished flashes as a ball handler, passer and shooter that hints at good things to come down the line.
“I always knew I would be in the NBA whether it took a year or four,” Sochan said. “I have my own game which takes on many different players and positions. Some players I think I can learn a lot from are Mikal Bridges, Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Jaylen Brown, Aaron Gordon, Boris DiawJust to name a few.”
One of the youngest players currently projected to be drafted, not yet 19, Sochan has grown several inches in recent years, allowing him to see a few minutes as a modern-style small ball center Diaw with a perimeter skill, and giving it to exploit as his career progresses.
“I can’t wait to show NBA teams how mature my game is for my age and how quickly I learn and adapt to new places,” Sochan said. “Also my shooting consistency and how I can contribute on the attacking side.”
The NBA draft will be held May 16-22 in Chicago and the draft will be June 23 in Brooklyn, New York.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analysis service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.