MANILA, Philippines—NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim may not be an expert in anything Philippines, but he wasn’t entirely in the dark when it comes to Kai Sotto.
A noticeable amount of hype followed the young 7-foot-2 center out of Ateneo High School and Abdur-Rahim was well aware of Sotto’s stature as a tall beacon hope in Philippine basketball.
“I’m not totally surprised, obviously being connected in the NBA I understand how big basketball is in the Philippines,” said Abdur-Rahim in a videoconference. “I’m not totally surprised because he’s [Sotto] on his way to being the first Filipino player drafted to the NBA.”
“That’s a big deal and it’s part of his journey.”
Sotto has been in the United States for more than a year training at The Skills Academy in Atlanta, Georgia to better prepare himself for his NBA dream.
Instead of joining collegiate programs like Kentucky, Georgia Tech, and Auburn, Sotto decided to jump to the NBA’s developmental league.
His move followed Jalen Green’s decision to become this graduating class’ first prep to pros player.
Green, who was of Filipino-American descent, was the no.1 ranked player in the ESPN 100 list and drew interest from 20 colleges including Villanova, Kentucky, Memphis, Auburn, Oregon, Kansas, University of California at Los Angeles, and University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
“I don’t worry about how big the sport is there, it’s exciting for us in the G League standpoint,” said Abdur-Rahim. “Folks in the Philippines will follow Kai and Jalen who has Filipino connections.”
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