Basketball: Polish 18-year-old player to be drafted into NBA

Experts at ESPN, an American cable sports channel, predict that Polish national team basketball player, Jeremy Sochan, who entered the NBA draft, could be selected at No. 15 by the New Orleans Pelicans. However, he is supposed to be drafted on an exchange basis and go straight to the Charlotte Hornets.

The club from Charlotte is owned by NBA legend and icon of world basketball - Michael Jordan.

According to experts, who base their predictions on the European NCAA league evaluations and conversations with managers and NBA clubs scouts, the Pole has a strong skill set despite his young age. He offers a good defence and assists, he also can play interchangeably in different positions.

The NBA draft will take place on June 23 in New York, but on May 17, three days before Sochan’s 19th birthday, the so-called NBA club lottery will be held to determine the order of teams selecting players. The Polish athlete is already an early entry candidate for the 2022 NBA Draft.

The fourth Pole in the NBA

Jeremy Sochan, the son of Poland’s Aneta Sochan, a former women's Polonia Warszawa basketball player, and an American father, made the decision to enter the draft after just one year of playing for the Baylor Bears university team. His team, defending NCAA champion, were knocked out in the last 16 of this year’s competition after a dramatic game against North Carolina Tar Heels (86:93). The Tar Heels then advanced to the final, where they lost to the Kansas Jayhawks.

Sochan scored a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) in the 1/16th game of the NCAA finals, and in his rookie season, usually coming off the bench, he averaged 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

He has a chance to become the fourth Pole to play in the NBA league - after Cezary Trybański (who was not selected in the draft), Maciej Lampe (in 2003 with No. 30 by New York Knicks) and Marcin Gortat (in 2005 with No. 57 by the Phoenix Suns, committed to Orlando Magic).

The Polish teenager, born in Guymon, Oklahoma, made his national team debut in February 2021 at the age of 17, in a European Championship qualifying match against Romania. Sochan became the national team’s youngest ever debutant - he played 29 minutes, scored 18 points (5/9 for two, 1/1 for three and 5/5 from free throws), had three rebounds, an assist and two blocks.

The name of another Pole, 21-year-old Aleksander Balcerowski (CB Gran Canaria), who also has a desire to get into the NBA league this year, did not appear on the draft list.