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What's next for G League Ignite returnee Kai Sotto?

After deciding to return to the Philippines to play for Gilas Pilipinas, NBA G League prospect Kai Sotto has flown back to the United States in order to enter the Disney World bubble in Orlando, Florida, and rejoin his team as soon as possible.

Sotto's camp certainly had a tumultuous last few days to say the least, following the initial cancellation of the Philippines' hosting of the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers and the subsequent scrapping of the Qatar re-hosting.

As bad as it is that he ended up foregoing precious game time in the pro ranks for absolutely no payoff back home, the worst may still not be over for the 7-foot-3 Sotto once he gets back to the US.

Not only will the 18-year-old big man again go through tight quarantine and testing measures set by the NBA, there may also be no clear pathway to minutes once he clears protocols, as Ignite head coach Brian Shaw himself revealed in a cryptic interview.

"That'll be something that will be determined by the people that are above my pay grade," Shaw said in a media call after his team went 3-0 in the new G League season.

In that three-game span, Shaw has leaned heavily on a rotation led by Fil-Am Jalen Green, Congolese Jonathan Kuminga, and NBA veteran Jarrett Jack, which has obviously led to great results given the undefeated streak.

Prospects Daishen Nix and Isaiah Todd have been used strictly as backups with decent minutes, while Indian big man Princepal Singh, the closest-ranked player to Sotto as of the moment, has not seen a single second of play time.

Even though Sotto can return to the Ignite bench as early as next week, it would be wise to expect that he'd go through the same fate as the 20-year-old Singh, who is also a very raw project in the eyes of NBA scouts. Shaw's comments certainly give a big hint to this outcome.

Even before the G League season tipped off, Sotto has been ranked well outside the top 60 of most draft boards, which means he will more than likely go undrafted if he pushes on declaring this year.

Days since the cancellation of the Doha tilt, public opinion has shifted strongly against the decision to interrupt Sotto's progress in the US after more than a year of dedicated training.

And given how everything has turned out, and will turn out soon, it's safe to say that lessons have been learned for all parties concerned. – Rappler.com