With the 2022 NBA Draft just finishing, great news is in store for Ron Harper Jr. who's headed to the League. He joins the Toronto Raptors after a two-way deal that happened after the 58 picks of the draft were announced. Rutgers alumnus is the son of five-time NBA champion Ron Harper. As a senior, he averaged 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.
This is not only going to be a great team-up but we're also excited to see how the Raptors and Harper Jr. work together on future Filipino heritage night events. Last year, the Raptors highlighted Filipino heritage in their latest City Edition Jersey video that centered around Filipinos' love for the game, but also what the game means to a family.
Harper Jr. was one out of three prospects with Filipino backgrounds looking to step on that draft stage. Kai Sotto and Remy Martin have not yet signed deals, so we'll be sure to keep an eye out on the NBA Summer League or news for updates.
Also, history was made when Jaylin Williams from Arkansas was drafted with the 34th Pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Cover Photo Credit: Roc Nation Sports
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