“I am fortunate enough to be declaring for the 2022 NBA draft,” Sochan, the No. 14 prospect in the ESPN 100, told ESPN.
He said he would sign with Jim Tanner and Deirunas Visockas of Tandem Sports.
Sochan was named Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, All-Big 12 honorable mention 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 defenders in the college game along the way.
“This season 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 toughness and versatility on both ends. I came into this season with intentions to make myself better and help the team win.”
Sochan comes from a unique background, born to an American father and 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 the majority of his life.
He had his breakout at the FIBA U16 European Championship Division B in 2019, winning MVP honors and guiding Poland to a first place finish. He moved to La Lumiere School in Indiana in the United States shortly thereafter but, due to the pandemic, he elected to return to Europe, joining Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany for his senior year. He then committed to Baylor over offers from Kansas, Michigan State, Arizona and others.
Sochan was the youngest player in history to play for the Polish senior national team at 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 played at an American high school, in Europe versus men, and in college at the NCAA level,” Sochan said. “This experience has been extremely useful for me both on and off the court. I think my ability to work hard, learn and adapt quickly will make it easier for me to evolve.”
At 6-foot-10, 229 pounds and with a 7-0 wingspan, Sochan played a variety of roles for Baylor, sliding between the small forward, power forward and center positions as injuries forced the Bears to shuffle lineups and adjust their style of play.
While not initially considered a sure-fire one-and-done candidate, Sochan’s energy, competitiveness, defensive versatility and toughness helped him emerge as a potential lottery pick in Big 12 play. He was regularly tasked with switching onto guards and wings in Baylor’s aggressive defensive schemes, while showing increasingly polished flashes as a ball-handler, passer and shooter that hint at good things to come down the line.
“I always knew that I’ll be in the NBA, whether it took one year or four,” Sochan said. “I have my own game that takes from many different players and positions. Some players that I think I can learn a lot from are Mikal Bridges, Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Jaylen Brown, Aaron Gordon, Boris Diaw, just to name a few.”
One of the youngest players currently projected to be drafted, having yet to turn 19, Sochan grew several inches in the past few years, allowing him to see some minutes as a Diaw-style modern small-ball center with perimeter skill, and giving him upside to tap into as his career moves forward.
“I’m looking forward to showing NBA teams how mature my game is for my age and l how I learn and adapt to new places quickly,” Sochan said. “Also my shot consistency and how I can contribute on the offensive end.”
The NBA draft combine 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 analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.