Injured player vaults Spurs’ Sochan among NBA’s ‘Rising Stars’ at All-Star Weekend

Injured player vaults Spurs’ Sochan among NBA’s ‘Rising Stars’ at All-Star Weekend

An injury has opened up an All-Star Weekend opportunity for a young San Antonio Spur.

Second-year forward Jeremy Sochan was selected as an injury replacement Thursday for next week’s Panini Rising Stars games. The games will be played next Friday night during NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis.

Sochan, 20, is replacing fellow sophomore Shaedon Sharpe from the Portland Trailblazers. Portland announced Tuesday that Sharpe would undergo surgery to repair a core muscle injury.

Sochan will be coached in the games on Team Jalen by honorary coach and former Indiana Pacer Jalen Rose. He will share the floor with sophomores Jalen Williams (Oklahoma City Thunder), Walker Kessler (Utah Jazz) and Bennedict Mathurin (Indiana Pacers).

The rookies on Team Jalen will be Chet Holmgren (Oklahoma City Thunder), Dereck Lively II (Dallas Mavericks) and Jordan Hawkins (New Orleans Pelicans).

Sochan’s 11.4 points per game this season is identical to the 11.0 points he averaged during his rookie season, but he has made some marked improvements in several areas from year one to year two. Sochan appears to be getting the hang of his one-handed free-throw shooting motion. He is making 77.5 percent of his free throws in 2023-24, up from 69.8 percent as a rookie.

His rebounding (6.2 in 2023-24 vs. 5.3 in 2022-23) and assists per game (3.7 in 2023-24 vs. 2.5 in 2022-23) are also up, but his most eye-popping improvement has been Sochan’s three-point shooting (34.5 percent in 2023-24 vs. 24.6 percent in 2022-23). Sochan made 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts in 16 games last month.

Sochan’s team will be one of four Rising Stars teams coached by Rose, Basketball Hall of Fame players Pau Gasol and Tamika Catchings, as well as three-time NBA All-Star and ex-Indiana Pacer Detlef Schrempf.

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