Chot hopes Kai toughens up with top competition in G League
MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto was head and shoulders above his competition when he was still playing for Ateneo in the juniors division of the UAAP, winning the MVP and the title in 2018.
The 7-foot-2 center was also an integral part of the Philippines’ campaign in several Fiba youth tournaments, but former Gilas head coach Chot Reyes believes Sotto hasn’t been tested well enough.
But Reyes said that will change when Sotto officially plays in the NBA G League where he’s about to encounter stiff opposition.
“There are times he plays with competitions that are not on the same level as he is, and I’m not too interested in that. I want him to get an opportunity to play against real top-flight caliber competition,” said Reyes.
In an interview with the Coaches Unfiltered podcast, Reyes said that Sotto’s daily practices with his teammates, and fellow prep to pro stars, Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, and Daishen Nix is bound to toughen him up.
There’s also the fact that the G League Select Team will be competing against grown men once the games start.
“Being around Jalen Green and all that, every day he’s going to get daily top-level competition, good practices in and that’s what Kai needs,” said Reyes. “He needs to toughen up. Kailangan niya mabugbog [he needs to experience the physicality], play against people who are bigger than he is which he will never get here.”
Sotto, though, has been training in The Skill Factory Prep School after leaving Ateneo and it’s there that he’s bulked himself up in preparation for his NBA dream.
“I wanted to make sure that through all that, he gets top-caliber competition. I think it’s a good situation for him,” said Reyes.