As part of a four-part series, Spurs rookie standout Jeremy Sochan will check in to share his thoughts and experiences exclusively with The Sporting News.
In his first entry, Sochan looks back on the first few months of his rookie season, opens up on his off-court interests and speaks on his excitement to participate in All-Star weekend.
On rookie season with Spurs
It’s funny like… you’re living life, you’re experiencing new cities every two days and you’re playing basketball at the end of the day, something that you’ve always loved since you were a little kid.
I can admit that things aren’t always perfect. There are a lot of ups and downs, but I think those negatives help me experience life and keep on going and growing.
Without the downs, you wouldn’t have the ups.
I’ve already done so much this year, playing for Gregg Popovich, a legendary coach who continues to help me. Honestly, everyone else in the organization — from the front office to the coaching staff to my teammates — have all really helped me.
From the moment I was drafted by the Spurs, Pop has been there for me. I think at first, he was observing us and letting us be, but as we started getting closer to the season, he got more involved. He wants the best for all of us and doesn’t have an agenda… he’s here to help us all and let us grow.
When I make mistakes, Coach has talked me through them, which I appreciate. Of course, there’s times that he’ll shout, but for the most part, it’s really just him taking you to the side during a timeout or a dead ball to talk to you, ask you a question about what you saw, and share what he sees.
Off the court, I’ve had dinner with him, and he talks to us about not only basketball, but other things that are going on in the world. We have team dinners on the road, we’ve gone bowling and we also went to the movies, which was crazy because I’ve never done that with an entire team.
We have a really young team. I think we’re one of the youngest in the league. Since this year’s all about growth, we know it’s not gonna be perfect.
We’re not an experienced team where you can minimize the mistakes and the down periods, but it’s been good for me because we just want to learn and grow, we’re really coachable and we also get along with each other.
I’ve spent time with a number of my teammates doing different things. It’s made us even closer off the court and I think it helps us on the court as well. Having that chemistry is amazing. It’s crazy to be able to say that I’m a rookie and I’ve already experienced the most attended game in NBA history at the Alamodome and the Mexico City game, where the crowd was going crazy!
Both games had an unbelievable atmosphere and the organization to make them happen was great.
In both games, it was just love all around. I feel like it united a lot of people — basketball fans and a lot of people who might not know basketball that well but came to support and help break that attendance record.
Outside of basketball
Off the court, I think it’s important to find things to get my mind off of basketball because I’m around it all the time.
I do a bunch of different stuff, whether it’s going out and trying new things with my teammates, my friends or even my parents. I love to sit on the sofa to relax and just listen to all types of different music from R&B to rap and alternative hip-hop to reggae or house music.
I spend a lot of my free time watching TV series, playing video games and finding other things to do. A few weeks ago, I went to a park with one of my best friends with a toy rocket and an RC car, just to have fun doing something different.
As for TV, I didn’t used to be a big fan of anime, but I just finished watching Vinland Saga on Netflix and it’s a pretty good show. I don’t know why, but I was locked into it. I watch a bunch of different series — I like a lot of shows like The Blacklist and Vikings. Now I’m watching The Last of Us, which is great.
I think my music taste and even my fashion sense describe who I am. There’s not one particular thing that I’m into. I like trying new stuff, being myself, being comfortable with that and just exploring.
My hair can be an expression of how I’m feeling at the time. In the past — especially in college — I’ve changed my hair color for a cause. I’ve done pink for breast cancer and also did blue and yellow for Ukraine.
I’ve been selected for Rising Stars Challenge this year, which means a lot to me. When I was younger, I always watched All-Star Weekend. When I was in England, I would have to wake up really early in the morning to watch it.
I would make sure I was up early for the dunk contest, the All-Star Game, and even the Rising Stars Game and to now be a part of that is crazy to me.
There’s definitely gonna be crazy stuff in my hair for All-Star. I’m going to have to figure it out, but I have some time to plan it all.