BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — On June 24, Friday (Manila time), Kai Sotto, a 20-year-old Filipino 7-foot-3 center, fails to be part of the 58 picks of the 2022 NBA Rookie Draft at Barclays Center, New York.
Almost 100 participants attended the draft headed by Commissioner Adam Silver and his deputy, Mark Tatum. However, it ended on a sombre note for Kai Sotto as his name was not called when the event concluded.
“I can’t really explain the feeling but it’s not a good feeling. I really worked hard and did my best to get here,” Sotto said in his interview on PlayItRight TV moments after the NBA Draft.
Joel Bell, Sotto’s agent, said that the basketball player would pass the Summer League despite getting several invites. He added that Sotto would be returning to Manila and playing with the Filipino national team.
But Sotto clarified the statement in a tweet, saying that his agent “misspoke” and no decision has been made about his joining the Summer League where he still has a chance to impress coaches and scouts.
Kai Sotto has had a good run so far in pursuing his dream and shares that it is “not the end” through the same tweet.
Many fans and supportive Filipinos who wanted to see a home-grown player in the NBA showed their support to Sotto through social media. One supporter is eight-division boxing champion and former presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao.
Sotto has attended a dozen of pre-draft workouts with various NBA teams, including New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Sacramento Kings, and Indiana Pacers.
He also joined the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League, where he averaged 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 15.2 minutes in 23 games.
Other than the Summer League, Sotto also has the option to return to the Australian National Basketball League or join Gilas Pilipinas in the third window of the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers. – WhatALife!