The NBA dream is coming closer for Filipino basketball player, Kai Sotto. The young seven-foot-two center previously played in the Australian National Basketball League for the the Adelaide 36ers and was part of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets in the Philippines. This year the Las Piñas native is looking to hopefully be a second-round draft pick in this year's NBA Draft.
Kai Sotto joins two other Fil-Am collegiate players, Kentucky Jayhawks point guard Remy Martin, and Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Ron Harper Jr. who also declared for the 2022 Draft. Sotto aims to be the first Philippine-born basketball player in the League, but he's not putting too much pressure on himself. Yahoo! Sports reports, although he carries the Philippine flag on his back, he enjoys what he's doing.
“Ever since I’ve played basketball a lot of people have been watching me, especially from the Philippines back home...I don’t really feel pressure anymore, it’s more having fun through the journey. I love my job; this is what I love to do, so there’s not much pressure. I enjoy it.”
Besides working out with the New York Knicks, Sotto has at least eleven other work outs with NBA teams. NBA Draft work outs are important because teams get their first impressions on NBA prospects. In Sotto's case, he's there to show everyone what he's got as this is their first glimpse especially if he hasn't been fact to face with an NBA scout. Work outs and scout interactions gauge how well a player's style will fit with the team dynamic and if the prospect is ready to take their career to the next level.
The draft will be held on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Best of luck to all three Filipino players entering the draft!
Cover Photo Credit: Kai Sotto Instagram