US basketball

Kai Sotto revealed as legit 2021 NBA Draft target despite ineligibility

JR Isaga
Kai Sotto revealed as legit 2021 NBA Draft target despite ineligibility

EXPOSURE. Kai Sotto looks to hone his skills more in the Australian NBL.

Photo from Instagram/@KZSOTTO

‘As his NBA agent, I had talks with several teams and he was going to be drafted,’ says Kai Sotto’s agent Joel Bell  

Many Filipino fans have been aching to see Kai Sotto quickly become the next international basketball phenomenon, and have been anxiously watching his every move while with the NBA G League Ignite.

But in the midway of the G League bubble season, the 7-foot-3 wunderkind’s camp shocked Pinoy hoops fans after mutually parting ways with the league without even having a single game played.

Two months after the controversial fallout, Sotto’s agent Joel Bell revealed in a special press conference that his young ward actually garnered legitimate interest from NBA teams before being declared ineligible for the 2021 draft.

“As his NBA agent, I had talks with several teams and he was going to be drafted,” he said. “They didn’t know what spot yet since it was still quite a ways from the draft. But, obviously, that’s off the table at this moment.”

Sotto was scrapped from the draftees list due to an NBA rule that requires players to be one year removed from high school. Unlike his fellow prospects like Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, he only graduated last April 2.

Prior to his ineligibility, the 18-year-old giant was ranked outside the top 60 in multiple reputable mock draft sources like ESPN and NBA Draft Room.

But Sotto’s agent apparently heard otherwise, and quickly moved to have him exposed once again to high-level competition, which ultimately led to the NBL and the Adelaide 36ers.

“The Australian league is an outstanding league. All you have to do is look at the number of players that have gone [from] there to the NBA,” Bell said. [As for] the 36ers, the management and coaching staff is just the best I’ve ever seen.”

Given that Sotto signed a multi-year contract with the pro league that once housed the likes of Andrew Bogut and LaMelo Ball, it’s safe to say that all parties were satisfied with his newest change in career direction.

Filipino fans will have to wait just a little bit longer for the first full-blooded Filipino to reach the NBA, but given this new draft information, it looks like it’s no longer a matter of if, but when. – Rappler.com