"Sky is the limit" for Filipino hooper Kai Sotto according to NBA star
Basketball prodigy Kai Sotto's NBA dream just took a large leap towards reality.
While training in Atlanta, U.S.A. under the tutelage of skills coach Nick Stapleton, the giant Filipino caught the eye of an established star in the league.
“He can shoot the three ball so he’s really cool and different just because he’s 7 feet,” Cleveland Cavalier point guard Collin Sexton, who has trained with Sotto, told Rappler.com.
“He’s able to run the floor and shoot it, put it on the floor, he can do a lot so he’s just got to continue to work and he’s gonna get better. The sky is the limit for him.”
High praise indeed from the 8th pick in the 2018 NBA draft.
The American dream
Sotto has been grabbing headlines in 2019 after a series of match-winning displays in his native land.
Subsequently the 17 year old announced that he was leaving the Philippines, in order to further his basketball education in the United States, before hopefully securing a contract at a European team, and one day the NBA.
"I prefer Europe more [as a first step] because when you look at the skillset of the kid, he’s tall, not very athletic but still jumps well for his height," Sotto's father Ervin told Rappler.com.
"He’s mobile, he’s got high upside and when I watch the NBA, the European players who are coming out now have those same skillsets."
After linking up with Stapleton in Atlanta, the Cavaliers coach set about improving the youngster's skills and strength.
This video, posted in May 2019, reveals a significantly improved shooting touch and suggests that the move is paying dividends.
A big deal on and off the court
It's not only on the court that Sotto is bearing and ever-closer resemblance to an NBA star.
He has also followed in the footsteps of James Harden, LeBron James, and Steph Curry by getting his own personal logo and website designed.
The 'K' and the 'Z' likely stands for Sotto's full first name, Kai Zachary.
Typically, basketball players will wait until they're household names before developing their own line of clothing.
But such is the hype around the Pinoy prodigy in an age of social media, that the youngster may be able to cash in even before he has played for a major team.
FIBA U19 World Cup the focus
But right now, thoughts of the NBA and a ubiquitous brand remain a pipe dream for a man previously compared to Asian powerhouse Yao Ming.
Sotto's attentions will instead be laser-focused on the FIBA u19 World Cup in Greece (June 29 - July 7), where he will be representing Gilas Youth, the Philippines junior team.
Sotto and towering NCAA Division 1 teammate AJ Edu will link up with the team in June, to continue preparations.
Gilas Youth will play in a warm-up tournament in Doha, Qatar before locking horns with Argentina, hosts Greece, and Russia for the FIBA tournament.