The 18-year old Filipino Basketball player, Kai Sotto, have bypassed the NCAA system and signed with the NBA G League. He becomes the fourth player to do so, joining the consensus five-star high school recruits Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix. He also becomes the first ever Jr. NBA Philippines graduate to join the G League system and is definitely inching closer to his dream of playing in the NBA.
The number one Filipino Basketball prospect left his hometown Manila, Philippines to play for The Skill Factory in Atlanta, United States. He spent the past year training under top coaches in the US. He has been putting in the work on court and also in the weight room.
Kai has already become a star in the Philippines and is a highly rated big man. With a height of 2.18 m and a standing reach of 2.84 m, he will definitely be a force in the paint. Despite that, he still lacks the physical strength and conditioning. One of the main reasons he left for the US was to take his training another level higher. His father Ervin Sotto, a former professional basketball player in the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA) mentioned that his son had to go through intensive training to get stronger as Basketball is a physical sport. He can be the most skillful player but once he plays in higher leagues, he’ll match up with bigger and stronger opponents and that’s when he’ll face some difficulties.
For someone his size, Kai is definitely a very skilled player. His footwork and ball skills are incredible, making him tough to defend. His main game are his post moves. Scoring with either hand is no challenge for him. To add to that, he uses shoulder fakes, step backs, hook shots and step throughs to beat his defenders easily. His passing ability is something you shouldn’t overlook. He has shown great court vision, using his height to scan above his defenders and passing right over them.
Unlike many big men in the game, Kai has the ability to shoot from behind the arc. In fact, he is able to pull up or spot up from anywhere on the court. With his 2.84 m reach, he as a high release point and elevation on his jump shot to shoot easily over his defenders. With how the game is played in the NBA right now, Kai’s ability to shoot from range will definitely be an asset to any team that he will be playing for.
Basketball is like a religion in the Philippines. With the large viewership of the NBA in the Philippines, Kai Sotto could easily become a national hero if he were to be the first Filipino Basketball player in the NBA. He has become the nations icon and an inspiration to young athletes back home. Though Kai has a lot to work on to achieve his dream, he definitely has the potential to do so if he puts in the hard work. Being in America to train and play Basketball full time would definitely create a huge impact on his game. The entire Southeast Asia would definitely be proud of this phenom if he were to achieve his dream of playing in the NBA one day.