Teenage basketball prospect Kai Sotto has chosen to skip college and instead will sign up with the NBA G League, US media reported on Monday.
Sotto thus followed in the footsteps of US-based Filipino player Jalen Green, who made history by becoming the first top prospect to pick the G League's freshly revamped professional pathway program over the traditional route offered by the US NCAA Division 1 schools.
The 7-foot-2 Sotto, who has been training in Atlanta since March last year, had been courted by several Division 1 teams and remained among the most coveted names based on scouting reports.
There were reports as far back as mid-April that Sotto had set his sights on the G League.
Veteran NBA coach Bill Bayno said he believes Sotto has the makings of an NBA-caliber player.
"Hopefully, he's training on the other stuff and how physical the NBA game is," said Bayno, currently part of the Indiana Pacers coaching staff.
"But Kai may be your first. He may be the first Filipino (in the NBA)."
According to ESPN, the reshaped G League program will group elite prospects on one team and pay them each at least $500,000, while serving as a one-year development program before they are eligible to enter the NBA draft.
Per ESPN, the program was bolstered after urging from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who wanted the G League to interest players that might try to play professionally outside America.
The new G League system quadruples the previous player salary ($125,000) and will provide financial incentives for participation in games, community events and life skills programs, according to ESPN.
The development team will focus on training and exhibition games, facing G League teams — about 10 to 12 games — but also international and academy teams. — With a report from Reuters
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