The Spurs are rebuilding, no doubt about it. During this transition from their dynasty years until now, defining a leader has been relatively easy. From Gervin to David Robinson to Tim Duncan, a hierarchy was pretty cut-and-dry.
After Duncan retired, handing the team to Kawhi Leonard seemed natural. When Leonard left, DeMar DeRozan became the de facto floor leader, a role for which he never seemed fully comfortable.
Dejounte Murray seemed to poised to take the baton as the youth movement was finally given the full go-ahead, but he was carted off.
By all appearances, Keldon Johnson has taken a lot of the spotlight this year. By the same token, so has Devin Vassell. Yet, when Tre Jones is on the floor, his leadership seems to be the focal point.
And then there is Jeremy Sochan.
Sochan has the confidence and poise of a leader but the rebellious nature of Dennis Rodman.
Just like Dennis Rodman, Sochan wears number 10. And like Rodman, Sochan’s court focus and hair color have already garnered comparisons to the most enthusiastic rebounder in NBA history.
But unlike Rodman, Sochan plays a lot more offense (and Sochan adjusted his free throw whereas Rodman just tossed the ball at the backboard to get away from the charity stripe) and creates his own shot.
Sochan is slowly becoming a marquee player of the Spurs highlight reel. His dunks are epic. His ability to get into the paint and create his own shot paired with his fearlessness got him enough league awareness to be invited to the Jordan Rising Stars event at All-Star.
And then this happened last night.
As Jeremy was stepping off the court to get a fresh jersey, he was already peeling it off the jersey and for the briefest moment, I thought he just might toss it into the crowd. or better yet, maybe he would seek out a little one to hand it off.
Made me remember Rodman.
For a period of time, Rodman gave a away his jersey at the end of every game (or when he was exiting due to two technicals in some cases). Usually to a child, but also to Cindy Crawford, Oprah Winfrey, and Rodman’s mother. No matter what, the end of the game jersey hand off became a nightly ritual.
Perhaps Sochan should begin the tradition.
Imagine framing and hanging his ripped jersey. A keepsake for sure.
Whether the Spurs will become the Spurs leader or whether he becomes the most colorful member of an up-and-coming team has yet to be determined. What is clear is that Sochan is a focus with which to be reckoned.
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