Set to play in first NBL season, Kai Sotto not losing sight of NBA dream
MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto’s deal with the Adelaide 36ers in the NBL could see him playing in Australia for the next three years at the most.
But as far as his intentions go, the rising Filipino star isn’t planning on staying that long as he remains fixated on fulfilling his NBA aspirations.
“The long-term goal is always to make it to the NBA. Hopefully, next year or the following year. That’s the ultimate dream,” Sotto said on the NBL website.
The 19-year-old center will be eligible for the NBA draft as early as next year.
For now, Sotto is focused on making a good account of himself in his first season with Adelaide. He is set to make his NBL season debut on December 3 when the 36ers play the Tasmania JackJumpers.
Before that, Adelaide is among the clubs scheduled to see action in a preseason tournament on November 14 and Sotto has been keeping himself busy in the gym.
“[R]ight now I’m going to be playing in the NBL and I’m the only Filipino to play here. The performance that I show will reflect on the Philippines so I have to make sure that I play the right way and play my best every time I step on the court,” he said.
“I’m just trying to be the best player that I can be every day. Just trying to be 0.001 percent better every day,” Sotto said. “Before I sleep at night I just make sure that I did my best to help myself and help other people get better.”
There’s a lot of hype ahead of Sotto’s first NBL game but the 7-foot-3 center will still have to earn his minutes with Adelaide, which is likely to start with a frontcourt of Daniel Johnson and Isaac Humphries.
He’s doing just that in practice.
“The best match-up I’ve had on this team is Daniel Johnson,” Sotto said of the three-time All-NBL First Team member.
“Going to practice and guarding him is a challenge but when we play each other, now that’s a good feeling. That’s a good sight to see.”
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