Kai Sotto

And-Ones: Sotto, Lue, Campazzo, Bubble

Kai Sotto, a 7’2″ center from the Philippines, is one of the prospects who will be part of the new G League Ignite select team, forgoing college for the NBAGL’s new professional path. Sotto spoke to Ajayi Browne of NetsDaily about his decision and the adjustments he’ll have to make after growing up in the Philippines.

“My challenge here in the States is how they play,” Sotto told Browne. “Being an international player from Asia they don’t really give you the respect right away, you have to earn it. They really have great players here. Every time I play I just have to earn everybody’s respect and play my hardest.

“For an 18-year-old player coming straight out of high school and playing in the G league is a really big thing for me, for a player like me. I know I’m gonna be playing against great players, stronger players, and faster players so I’m just trying to get ready to be better. That’s gonna be the best way for me to improve to play against players like them, to be around an amazing coaching staff and amazing teammates. I just can’t wait.”

Like the 2020/21 NBA season, next year’s G League season remains up in the air. But whenever it happens, Sotto will be part of an Ignite squad that also features guards Jalen Green and Daishen Nix, as well as forwards Jonathan Kuminga and Isaiah Todd.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • While he has appreciated having Tyronn Lue on his staff this season, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is rooting for Lue to get a head coaching job, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details. “It’s a joke that he’s not a head coach, but it’s to my advantage that he’s not,” Rivers said, adding that he has no problem with Lue taking interviews during the playoffs. “… He’s been absolutely (great). He’s just a wonderful guy to be around. His IQ, his feel, he’s made this year really enjoyable for me.”
  • Argentinian point guard Facundo Campazzo is still hoping to make the leap to the NBA for the 2020/21 season, but with next season’s schedule up in the air, he’s sticking with Real Madrid for the time being, per Ricardo Gonzalez of AS.com (Spanish link; hat tip to Sportando). The plan is for the salary he earns in the interim with the EuroLeague club to be put toward his NBA buyout, Gonzalez explains.
  • As of this Saturday (September 5), the eight teams still playing in the Walt Disney World bubble will have the opportunity to add one staff member and swap one out for another, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

And-Ones: Sotto, Drew League, Hampton, Fields

After a report earlier this week indicated that Kai Sotto, a 7’2″ center from the Philippines, would be joining the G League’s new Select Team, Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed (via Twitter) that Sotto has officially signed his contract with the NBAGL.

Sources tell Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com (Twitter link) that Sotto, who was ranked 51st in 247Sports’ rankings of 2020 recruits, will earn at least $200K on his G League deal. According to the details that have been reported so far, Sotto’s deal won’t be as lucrative as the ones for his teammates like Jalen Green and Daishen Nix, but he’ll still be earning far more than the average G League veteran does ($35K).

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Drew League, a popular pro-am basketball summer league basketball in Los Angeles, has been forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin details. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Chris Paul, and the late Kobe Bryant are among the NBA stars who have taken part in Drew League games in past years.
  • As part of his preparation for the 2020 NBA draft, probable lottery pick RJ Hampton is working with former NBA guard Penny Hardaway, according to John Martin of The Athletic. Hardaway is now the coach of the Memphis Tigers team that Hampton passed on last year to play in Australia’s National Basketball League.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Blake Murphy spoke to former NBA forward Landry Fields about his disappointing stint with the Raptors and the health issues that derailed his NBA career, as well as the opportunity he has received in the Spurs‘ front office. Fields was named the general manager of San Antonio’s G League affiliate last September.

Kai Sotto Opts For G League Professional Path

Kai Sotto, a 7’2″ center from the Philippines, intends to pass on college ball and will instead join the G League’s revamped professional program, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The G League’s new Select Team has landed a number of notable high school recruits, including guards Jalen Green and Daishen Nix, as well as forward Isaiah Todd. Sotto represents the first international prospect who will sign a contract with the NBAGL program, as Charania notes.

A four-star recruit who comes in at No. 62 overall on ESPN’s 2020 rankings, Sotto arrived stateside in 2019 and joined The Skill Factory, a prep program based in Georgia. A handful of colleges were believed to be keeping an eye on the big man, including Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Auburn, and USC, but he’ll opt to go pro as he pursues an eventual NBA career.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz wrote in February about their impressions of Sotto at the Basketball Without Borders camp, with Givony noting that the youngster’s talent stood out in drills, even as he “struggled to make his presence felt in the games.” According to ESPN’s scouting report, Sotto has a versatile skill set given his size, handling the ball well and displaying three-point range on his jump shot.

Meanwhile, Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside wrote on Sunday that he viewed Sotto and the G League Select Team as a good fit for one another, pointing out that taking on a project like Sotto would allow the program to prove it’s capable of developing prospects who are still fairly raw.