Filipino monster teen stuns NBA
Seventeen-year-old basketball prodigy Kai Sotto says he’s going to be the first player from the Philippines to crack the NBA — and at 2.19m you’d be brave to bet against him.
Since February’s NBA All Star weekend where he emerged as one of the biggest stories from the annual Basketball Without Borders camp, Sotto has been generating buzz about his future prospects in the NBA.
The basketball world is beginning to see what millions in the Philippines have already known for years.
The kid is a freak.
Sotto, who cracked seven-feet before his 17th birthday, has the fluid athleticism to match his daunting physical presence.
It’s why ESPN recently graded him the No. 68 overall player heading into the next season of college basketball.
He’s considered the No. 11 overall centre prospect for the 2021 NBA Draft — but it’s his trailblazing story that has got people talking.
Kai Sotto will nominate for the 2021 NBA Draft.Source:Twitter
In a basketball mad country with eight million NBA Facebook followers (the most for any country outside of the USA) Sotto is already a star — as his 150,000 Instagram followers can attest to.
But, even at the age of 17, he is embracing the crushing pressure that comes with being the country’s first real chance to crack the NBA.
“There haven’t been any full-blooded Filipinos that has been to the NBA and I just want to be the first one,” Sotto told Bleacher Report.
“I just want to show everyone that we can also make it.
“My ultimate dream is to make it to the NBA and I also want to represent the Philippines at international tournaments. I just want to show that Philippines is part of the basketball world.”
Standing 7’2”, Kai Sotto is trying to become the first NBA player who was born in the Philippines ✊ @brhoops pic.twitter.com/gnApHKgYUk
After mixed reviews of his performance at the Basketball Without Borders camp, Sotto has been trying to muscle up to take full advantage of his height against rival centres that have developed quicker than he has.
He is fully committed to achieving the new body he needs to play bully-ball against other monsters in the paint.
Working with high-school program The Skills Factory in Atlanta, Sotto has been packing on muscle mass.
Since moving to America in 2019, he gained 13 pounds (6kg) in his first three months.
He is still playing for The Skills Factory in high-school level competition, but his focus is firmly on his decision to play in college later this year or to skip college altogether to prepare for next year’s NBA Draft.
Kai Sotto is a huge star in the Philippines.Source:Twitter
Sotto is reportedly wavering on his early desires to play in college, but is yet to lock in a decision after reportedly receiving a scholarship offer from the University of Georgia and visiting several high profile schools, including Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia Tech.
Even without a college commitment, Sotto has impressed a huge number of NBA scouts and commentators, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Lakers legend Vlade Divac.
All he needs know is some added meat on his bones — and he’s well on his way.
“We are there to make it stronger, to accelerate, to be more explosive and I think, it works because after two months, when I gained weight, instead of weighing myself down, I just feel lighter,” he said of his strength and development program recently.
“It really gives me confidence to accelerate and I become more explosive. If I think about working out almost every day, I really think I can do whatever I think.”
He thinks he can be the Philippines first ever NBA player — and you’d be brave to bet against him.
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