The NBA G League’s reshaped professional pathway program has sent shock-waves around the college recruitment circles. With many elite prospects entertaining the idea of playing for the new select team, before entering their respective draft. One of those prospects, center Kai Sotto.
Born in the Philippines, Sotto played at Ateneo de Manila High School. Before relocating to The Skill Factory in Atlanta. Listed a 4-star recruit, he passed on the opportunity to play in college. Instead opting for the G League, alongside fellow elite prospects Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, and Daishen Nix.
Sotto’s Basketball Journey:
As a high-school junior, Sotto led his team to a UAAP Basketball Championship title in March 2018. Averging 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 6.3 blocks, through 3 games. Picking up the Finals Most Valuable Player award in the process.
As a senior his game developed further. Consequently, his numbers bumped to an average of 25.1 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks. Which earned him UAAP MVP honours.
Sotto has had quite an extensive international career to date. He made his debut for the Philippines at the 2017 SEABA Under-16 Championships. Where he led his team to a gold medal, averaging 16.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
In April of the following year, he represented the national team at the FIBA Under-16 Asian Championships. Averaging 16.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. Including a huge 28 point, 21 rebound game against Japan in the quarterfinals. He led the tournament in rebounds and blocks, as his team finished 4th.
Sotto then participated in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Argentina. Averaging 16.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. As the Philippines finished in 13th place, their highest finish ever. The following year he took part in the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Greece. Where his team finished 14th as he posted averages of 11.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game.
In November 2019, he made the move over to the United States as his NBA aspirations grew stronger. To the Skill Factory in Atlanta, Georgia, to be specific. He dropped 18 points and 12 rebounds in his debut and averaged 27 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4.3 blocks in the King Invitational Tournament.
In Feburary 2020, he took part in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders camp during the 2020 All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
Standing at a huge 7-foot-2, with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Kai Sotto possesses an incredible standing reach of 9-foot-4. Which naturally provides him with the ability to sweep up in the paint on both sides of the ball at ease. Whether it be through crashing the boards, cleaning up with blocks, or doing work on the offensive end.
Offensively, he has a range of post moves which are forged from his advanced footwork. His impressive mid-range and perimeter shooting really sets a foundation for his game to transcend to the professional ranks moving forward. Also, his ball-handling opens up opportunities for himself and others when driving to the rim.
Defensively, he’s dominant in the paint. However his lateral quickness lacks, due to his sheer size. Whilst his wiry frame makes it awkward for opponents, Sotto could do with gaining some muscle. Which would enable him to bang in the post with NBA bigs. At the moment he’d most likely get overpowered. Saying that, he’s still only 18-years-old.
The sky is really the limit for Kai Sotto. Sitting as an intriguing prospect due to the many facets of his game, the base is really there for him to be a force in the professional ranks. He’s already a star in his native Philippines and he is well on his way to becoming the first-ever Filipino-born NBA player.
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