Scouts are already asking about the eligibility of a 7ft 2in teenage prospect
- Kai Sotto of the Adelaide 36ers is now eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft
- 36ers coach CJ Bruton confident Sotto will get NBA opportunity
- The 7ft 2in teenager has long dreamed of making it to the NBA
A Filipino basketball phenom could get closer to the NBA.
Adelaide 36ers center Kai Sotto is finally eligible for the 2022 NBA draft.
According to 36ers coach CJ Bruton, a number of league scouts have already asked about the 19-year-old.
“There is no doubt that Kai [Sotto] will have every chance to play in the NBA,” Bruton recently told PlayitrightTV. “If it’s this year, depending on how the draft stock goes, I think his time will come. It’s almost like your freshman year in college basketball, but being a pro athlete.
“I intend to get [him to the NBA]”, continued the coach. “I think for every scout I’ve spoken to so far in the NBA who wants to know more about Kai Sotto and his personality, what he can bring and where he lies, I said “without a doubt”. he will be [in the NBA].”
“Everyone understands he’s going to be there at some point, it’s just a matter of when.”
Officially listed as 7-foot-2, Sotto is aiming to become the first local Filipino to play in the NBA.
Like most of his contemporaries, Sotto also aspires to make a name for himself in the world’s premier professional basketball league.
“I imagine myself being an All-Star and I would do anything I can to be an All-Star,” Sotto noted of his NBA aspirations in 2020. “I imagine myself being part of a great organization, a great team.”
“In five years, I want to be the best in Asia, also be a Filipino and represent the Philippines,” he added. “It’s in five years. I think that’s the dream.”
It can be recalled that Sotto was once highly touted to make it to the league, having been one of the most notable members of the NBA G League’s “Ignite” team.
However, things suddenly fell apart, with NBA G-League President Sharif Abdul-Rahim citing ‘challenges’ that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason they ended the debut. expected from Sotto.
The teenage sensation then joined Australia’s NBL.
“It’s a bit difficult with everything that’s happened,” Sotto told Rappler of his controversial G League exit last April. “After that, I was really happy for the people around me to help me stay on my path and keep me focused,” he said after also revealing he wasn’t eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft, after all.
“Other players may have already let go of all the challenges and problems. I just tried not to think about it. I just kept doing what’s best for me. I worked and got myself motivated.
As it stands, Sotto has been a key figure for the 36ers this season. In his first five games for the team, he averaged nine points, four rebounds and 15.6 minutes per game.
Prior to his NBL stint with the 36ers, Sotto had a streak of outstanding outings for the Philippines national team in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers.