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Jeremy Sochan Shines Bright in the Rising Stars Game

The Spurs’ rookie shows off impressive passing ability and athleticism in championship loss

2023 NBA All-Star - Jordan Rising Stars Game Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Jeremy Sochan got a chance to show his talents on the big stage in Salt Lake City on Friday night. He joins other Spurs legends who have appeared in the game like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard. The 19-year-old rookie brought some showtime plays to the Friday night primetime event.

Sochan (the “elite all around defender,” as the announcers called him) got the start for Joakim Noah’s squad alongside Josh Giddey, Quentin Grimes, Evan Mobley and Jabari Smith Jr. Noah’s squad was electric moving the ball, with passing savants like Giddey and Sochan feeding the team’s offensive threats like Grimes and Mobley.

Sochan got his night started with an impressive lob from half-court to a cutting Grimes, which prompted a “that’s a big throwing the lob” comment from Candice Parker.

Sochan’s teammates raved about his passing during practice earlier in the day, and he showed the world how capable of a playmaker the 6’8” forward can be.

What was really impressive however, was his high-flying finishes at the rim. Giddey hit him in the pick-and-roll (what a dream it would be to see that combo in Silver and Black) for a nice two-handed flush early in game 1.

Then, in his most memorable play of the night, Sochan brought the ball up the floor, hit his man with a crossover, and exploded to the rim for a ferocious dunk. Put this man in the dunk contest!

In practice earlier that day, Sochan made a bet with Rockets’ rookie Smith Jr. that if he made a half courter in the game, Smith Jr. would dye his hair pink. The Spurs’ rookie airballed the shot to try to seal the game for team Noah. It’s great to see San Antonio’s All-Star Weekend representative build relationships with some of the other young players in the league. Don’t forget that these events are where the seeds for future super teams are planted. It may just be a silly event for fans, but the implications of getting to know the other players here can be huge years from now.

Sochan finished the first game with 6 points, an assist and a steal. Team Noah faced Pau Gasol’s squad that featured a number 1 overall pick in Paolo Banchero, and last year’s Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes. But it was the Pelicans’ pesky point guard Jose Alverado who stole the show and took home MVP in the championship game.

Sochan struggled in the second game, with a few costly turnovers. As the defense ramped up, team Noah struggled to keep up the impressive passing they showed against Jason Terry’s collection of G-leaguers. The Spurs’ rookie tallied just 1 point in the championship loss.

This game was a fun treat for Spurs fans who get the satisfaction of seeing last year’s lottery selection show off his skills on the main stage. That dunk in transition may end up being one of the team’s most impressive highlights of the season. Charles Bassey is up next, with an appearance in the G-League Next Up Game at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday.