Kai Sotto hopes to channel inner Nikola Jokic in G League
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 19, 2020 01:19 PM
(Photo courtesy of NBA Philippines)
Kai Sotto is not only the first international promising prospect to join the Select Team, he is also going to be the first full-blooded Filipino to play in the G League.
Without a doubt, the Philippines is making more and more noise in international basketball with much thanks to the 7-foot-2, 18-year-old.
To continue doing so, Sotto himself hopes to pattern his play after one of his idols - another player born and bred outside the US. “International player, siguro, si Nikola Jokic,” he answered when asked by reporters which NBA player inspires him in an online question-and-answer session organized by East-West Private last Thursday.
Jokic is the two-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA First Team who plays for the Denver Nuggets, but hails from Serbia.
In the season put on pause, he has been posting per game counts of 20.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.2 steals. “Kung paano siya maglaro at kung gaano siya ka-smart i-read yung court, yun yung sana magawa ko rin,” the young Filipino said.
Sotto, for his part, averaged 25.1 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.6 blocks in his MVP win in his last year for Ateneo de Manila High School.
Looks like he has a long way to go before reaching the heights Jokic is on, but the good news is, he knows it full well and is hard at work to get there. “Kaming mga (young talent) na sasali sa Select Team, yung magdadala sa amin is yung competitiveness namin,” he said, referring to new teammates Jalen Green, Daishen Nix, and Isaiah Todd.
He then continued, “Competitiveness ang maghe-help sa aming hilahin yung isa’t-isa pataas. Kung ikaw, magko-compete with great poayers every day, you’ll also improve.”
The one-time champion and one-time MVP in the UAAP Jrs. also made it clear, however, that Jokic isn’t the only player he is out to emulate. “Wala talaga akong isang player na tinitingala kasi sa laro ko ngayon, yung mga pinagsasama-sama ko is sila Jokic, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Duncan, at Hakeen Olajuwon,” he shared.
He then continued, “Sila yung lagi kong pinapanood and I try to learn from.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.