MANILA, Philippines – Towering Filipino teen Kai Sotto declared for the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday, April 28, just days after wrapping up his season with the Adelaide 36ers in the Australia National Basketball League.
“Please pray for and support me during my quest to fulfill my ultimate dream,” the 19-year-old Sotto said in a statement posted on his social media accounts.
Sotto just recorded his pro-career high outing of 21 points with Adelaide last April 11 in a loss to the Brisbane Bullets. The former Ateneo high school standout then ended his first season as a pro last April 24, tallying 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks against the New Zealand Breakers as the Sixers finished with a 10-18 record.
Overall, the 7-foot-3 big man wrapped up his NBL campaign with averages of 7.5 points on 50% shooting and 69% on free throws, on top of 4.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in just a little over 15 minutes per game.
Sotto is projected to be a mid-to-late second round pick, but so far, mock drafts don’t have him in their top 60. However, there have been persistent reports that he is getting feelers from multiple NBA teams. (READ: Harsh reality: Kai Sotto falls way short of being picked in multiple 2022 NBA mock drafts)
If ever he is drafted, the son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto will be the first homegrown Filipino player to make it to the NBA. He will also join Fil-Am compatriots Jordan Clarkson and Jalen Green, the latter of whom he already played against in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) back home in the Philippines.
Green and Sotto also briefly became teammates in the pioneering NBA G League Ignite batch, but Sotto left the team without playing a single game. Green, meanwhile, went on to lead the squad to the playoffs before getting drafted second overall in the 2021 NBA draft.
Other Pinoy household names who attempted to make the NBA leap include Ray Parks, Kiefer Ravena, and Japeth Aguilar, all of whom at least made the league’s developmental ranks.