Kai Sotto is a proud product of Jr. NBA grassroots program

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 18, 2020 12:44 PM
Kai Sotto is a proud product of Jr. NBA grassroots program
Four years ago, Kai Sotto was a little-known Jr. NBA aspirant who opened the eyes of just about everybody with his height

From Jr. NBA to G League and hopefully, ultimately, the NBA - that is the career path being trekked by Kai Sotto.

And the 7-foot-2, 18-year-old Filipino is only continuing to march forward, no matter the obstacles in front of him.

That determination is what clinched it for the NBA developmental league to sign Sotto. "Of course, we wanna see NBA-level talent so (he has to be) a player we're projecting and expecting to go all the way to the NBA," G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim told local media in an online question-and-answer session organized by NBA Philippines a week ago.

He then continued, "At the same time, (he should have) work ethic, high character, and desire to be pushed and challenged. There's a lot of talented players in the world, but not all of them will fit in this program because they may not be ready for the commitment to be ready for the NBA."

Indeed, in terms of commitment, the Philippines' towering tantalizing talent has committed himself to reaching the NBA since March 2019.

And now, he is only one step away.

"So it's a combination of talent and, really, the character to make it to the NBA. We wanna make sure to have players who are attracted to the NBA, but at the same time, have the right attitude for it," Abdur-Rahim furthered. "I think Kai fits all of those areas. He's really on his way to great things."

Even better, Sotto has actually committed himself to all this the very moment he signed up in the Jr. NBA.

Back in 2016, the future one-time champion and one-time MVP in the UAAP Jrs. opened eyes and mouths as he stood heads and shoulders above the competition in the grassroots program's National Camp in Makati. "We're happy to continue to be part of the process for him because he has been part of the NBA process for a long time, coming from the Jr. NBA," the G League president said.

From there, he only grew and grew and only broke glass ceiling after glass ceiling.

And Abdur-Rahim has no doubt that Sotto is far from finished from doing so now in the US. As he put it, "What we see is the physical talent, the size, but also, skill with the size. We think Kai is someone under the radar in the fact he's new in the US so in some ways, folks haven't seen him a lot."

He then continued, "We see Kai having a lot of upside. We think including him in our Select Team, we can help him get further progress."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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