'Expect the unexpected': After Baylor's first national championship in program history, more elite talent is on the way | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / July 14.
  • ‘Expect the unexpected’: After Baylor’s first national championship in program history, more elite talent is on the way

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    By JACOB POLACHECK and TOBIAS BASS

    It’s 3 a.m. in Ulm, Germany.

    Jeremy Sochan is thousands of miles away from his future home in Waco, Texas.

    The 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward is set to join forces with a pair of elite recruits this summer as part of Baylor’s top-ten nationally ranked recruiting class.

    But for now, he’s watching as his future team dismantles then-undefeated Gonzaga to take home the program’s first-ever national championship.

    “From the start, I knew they were going to win,” Sochan said. “Just the way they play, the culture, the energy and how together they play. I just knew it.”

    Despite being nearly 4,500 miles away from Indianapolis and another 5,300 miles away from the Baylor campus in Waco, Texas, Sochan already feels a strong connection to this team.

    “I was really happy and proud to be a part of that,” Sochan said. “Even if I’m not on campus yet, I feel like I’m a part of it already.”

    Meanwhile, Sochan’s future teammate Langston Love should be celebrating a national championship of his own.

    Just two days earlier, Love played a major piece in Montverde (FL) Academy’s victory over Sunrise (KS) Christian Academy in the GEICO Nationals High School National Championship in Fort Myers, Florida.

    “When the final buzzer went off and we were able to celebrate us as a team reaching our final goal,” Love said. “It made all the sacrifice worth it.”

    As Love celebrated, his future teammate, Baylor signee Kendall Brown had to watch as his Sunrise Christian squad fell just short.

    Tonight, however, Love is too nervous to celebrate as he eagerly watches Baylor end Gonzaga’s perfect season, texting his future teammates all the while.

    “I was alone and locked in on the game,” he said. “We were just talking about how great they were playing and what we will have to do next year”.

    Brown, meanwhile, is joined by all of his teammates at Sunrise Christian.

    “I was really excited,” Brown said. “A lot of people were picking Gonzaga, but I was telling them ‘our boys are going to pull it out’.”

    With each player’s high school career behind them, Sochan, Love and Brown eagerly await their chance to prove this Baylor team is more than just a one-year-wonder.

    “We’re losing a lot of people, but we’re still going to have a gritty, hardworking team,” Brown said. “We’re just going to come in there and give it our all.”

    The Bears are set to lose a number of key pieces to its 2020-21 national championship roster including junior guard Davion Mitchell, a projected lottery pick who declared for the NBA Draft on Wednesday, and junior guard Jared Butler, a projected first-round pick.

    Love, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, will bring some defensive versatility to this Baylor team, while Brown, a 6-foot-8 small forward, expects to be more of a facilitator on the offensive end.

    “I’m feeling really confident about us coming in and having an immediate impact,” Brown said.

    And for Sochan, after playing his senior season overseas, he plans to bring some European flair to this Bears roster.

    “This time next year, a lot of people are going to start to know me more,” he said. “We’re going to be really good and people should expect the unexpected.”

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