Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Spurs exercise Collins, Sochan, Branham and Wesley’s deals

Courtesy of NBAE/Michael Gonzalez

Last week, the Spurs announced that they have signed Zach Collins to a multi-year contract extension. Along with exercising players Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley for the 2024-2025 season. 

Collins, a veteran power forward, is in his third season with the Spurs and sixth season in the league. He started his professional journey with the Portland Trail Blazers as their tenth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Before going pro, Collins played in the 2016-17 season with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. He helped lead them to their first NCAA National Championship game in university history. 

In the 2022-23 season with the Silver and Black, Collins averaged a career-high of 11 points, six rebounds and two assists, all in 22 minutes. Last season, Collins started in 26 games out of 63 total. His career-high was 29 points with a career-best of 11 field goals in February against the Detroit Pistons.

In the 2022 NBA Draft, the Spurs drafted Sochan, Branham and Wesley. This marked the first time in history that the organization drafted a trio in the first round within the same year.

As he enters his second year with the Spurs, Sochan, who was drafted ninth overall,  played in 56 games, averaging 11 points, five rebounds and two assists within 26 minutes. The Baylor alum was named 2022-2023 NBA All-Rookie second team and selected to the 2023 Rising Stars roster – the tenth in franchise history.

At guard, Branham appeared in 66 games last season. Branham averaged ten points, two rebounds and one assist in 23 minutes. He was the leading rookie in February with a total of 185 points, averaging 16 per game. In the 2022-23 season with the Spurs, Branham averaged five points, two assists and two rebounds in 18 minutes. Prior to playing for the Spurs, Branham played for Ohio State during the 2021-22 season. With the Buckeyes, he earned the Kyle Macy Award, presented annually to the top DI freshman.

Wesley, a Notre Dame alum, appeared in 37 games last season. After being picked by the Silver and Black in the 2022 NBA Draft (25th overall), he played with the Austin Spurs. Wesley averaged 20 points, three assists and three rebounds in 11 games. He also made an appearance in the NBA 2k24 Summer League averaging 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes. 

The class of 2022 sophomores have already broken records. Sochan scored double-figures in 35 games last season, breaking Gary Neal’s record from the 2010-11 season. The most games in a season with ten plus points scored by any Spurs rookie. Branham became the first Spurs rookie last season to score the most points in a single month breaking Neal’s record of 189 points in March 2011. In a new era with a young team, I think it is safe to say that things are looking up for the Spurs. 

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