Kai Sotto’s journey to the biggest stage in basketball is about to shift into high gear as the 7-foot-3 Filipino prodigy is set to attend workouts of at least 12 NBA teams in preparation for the rookie draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on June 23.
The 20-year old son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto has until June 13 to decide whether or not to remain in the draft which has managed to draw 270 applicants, 40 of which are not products of US schools. Of the lot, only 58 will be chosen.
“I’m excited and nervous at the same time but I can’t wait,” said Sotto in an interview arranged by Smart Sports from his Atlanta base.
“It’s the first time a full-grown Filipino has been this close but I’m still just focused on working hard every single day to improve, get better and be ready when the draft comes,” added the 2022 NBL Fans MVP.
After his one and done stint with the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League, Sotto flew home to Manila for a brief vacation with his family and then went to Atlanta to begin training with Jeremiah Boswell of The Skill Factory.
“Jeremiah’s a great trainer, helping me the past two weeks and I’m happy with what we’ve done so far. I train twice a day and lift thrice a week,” said Sotto.
“It’s a workout with Jeremiah in the morning then I have a shooting workout six times a week. They’ve been pushing me these past weeks. Jeremiah has been my toughest trainer. I know I’m challenged when I work with him and that really prepared me for the upcoming NBA team workouts,” added the former Ateneo Blue Eagle.
While Sotto wasn’t among the 76 players invited for the Draft Combine in Chicago last May 18-20, his NBA agent, Joel Bell, doesn’t see this as an indication of lack of interest.
“I wasn’t surprised he wasn’t invited. Teams that scouted Australia this year were very enthusiastic about Kai who got better every week in the NBL,” explained Bell.
“That’s why we have so many teams that want to bring him in for workouts. And we actually have a commitment from at least one team that will pick him if Kai stays in the draft,” he added.
“If you’re a team that thinks a player is pretty good but you’re not positive other teams realize it, the last thing you’re going to do is vote to invite him to the Combine because you don’t really want him in a display case.”