For the first time in team history, the San Antonio Spurs had three first-round picks. Hopefully, for the franchise, they chose correctly. With the ninth overall pick, San Antonio grabbed Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, Ohio State guard Malaki Branham with the 20th overall pick, and Notre Dame guard Blake Wesley with the 25th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
The 6-9 Sochan, who is the highest draft pick by the Spurs since they selected Tim Duncan with the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, played one season at Baylor. The 19-year-old Sochan was named the Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year and was selected to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team, averaging 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.27 steals while appearing in 30 games.
A native of England, Sochan averaged 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in four games across the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.
“I’m very excited,” Sochan said Thursday night. ‘I think I’ll bring a lot of versatility to the team, energy, and fight and passion. I’m really excited.”
The 6-5 Branham played one season at Ohio State, where he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The 19-year-old averaged 13.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 32 games.
“I feel like just me spacing the floor and me being able to knock down outside shots,” Branham said. “I feel like I’m a good fit for that.”
When asked what current Spurs player he admires, Branham said the following:
“I’d probably say Dejounte Murray, just because he was kind of in the same range that I was, and also just hard worker, and he’s a great defensive player.”
Wesley played one season at Notre Dame. In 35 games, the 6-5 guard led the Fighting Irish in scoring with 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 29.4 minutes as a freshman. The 19-year-old finished with the fourth-most points (504) by a freshman in Notre Dame program history.
“I fit good,” Wesley said. “They drafted Josh Primo, and they developed him. I feel like the San Antonio Spurs are a big development team organization, and to be going there is a big blessing.”
Also, San Antonio acquired a future second-round pick and cash considerations from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the draft rights to Kennedy Chandler, who the Spurs drafted in the second round of this year’s draft with the 38th overall selection.