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
With the NBA playoffs set in high gear, the Draft is right around the corner. Three Filipino athletes have declared for the NBA draft and taking their shot to enter the League. The three hopefuls are Las Piñas native and Australia's National Basketball League athlete, Kai Sotto, Kentucky Jayhawks point guard Remy Martin, and Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Ron Harper Jr.
The 2022 NBA Draft is underway with a total of 283 players who are early entry candidates-- 247 from colleges and 36 international players who are looking to take the next step in their careers. Although this is the information on early entry candidates, expect to see more news coming soon like the three Filipino athletes declaring for draft night. The event is set to for June 23rd at Barclays Center in New York. Lets take a look at the profiles of the three Filipino hopefuls.
The 19 year old, seven-foot-two center born in the Philippines currently plays for the Australian NBL with the Adelaide 36ers. Before playing in Australia, he was part of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) then moving to The Skill Factory (TSF) in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, Sotto was considered a four-star recruit among many NCAA Division I programs in the U.S. In 2020, he joined the NBA G League Ignite and opted out of collegiate eligibility. Due to commitments with playing for the Philippine National Team and the situation regarding the pandemic, Sotto was unable to return to the G-League and couldn't declare for the Draft until this year.
A current NCAA champion, the Kansas Jayhawks point guard had a solid super-senior year going all the way in the March tournament. The California native is a three-time All-Pac-12 selection, making him the second player in Arizona State Univeristy history to be named all-league three times. The ASU transfer is going all in with the 2022 Draft as he withdrew during the 2020 and 2021 seasons to continue his collegiate career. In 2022, Martin averaged 8.6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.
Ron Harper Jr.
The six-foot-six Junior from New Jersey decided to forgo his senior year of collegiate eligibility with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Although the Knights had a short end to the tournament, Harper Jr. made an impact on the court. Throughout his collegiate career, he went from a two-star prospect to an All-American. The shooting guard / small forward had an impressive last season with an average of 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists for the season. The son of previous Los Angeles Lakers player, Ron Harper Sr. is said to be projected as a second-round selection.