Top US NCAA schools court rising Pinoy basketball star Kai Sotto

HSBC Philippines
US NCAA Kai Sotto
Kai Sotto is being scouted by U.S. and European teams to play for them. Photo from Kai Sotto social media.

Rising Pinoy basketball star Kai Zachary Sotto has definitely caught the attention of the United States (US) National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 schools as he continues to be scouted by top colleges and universities who attract basketball players exhibiting special qualities and potentials.

The 17-year-old University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 81 Juniors MVP is currently in the U.S. as a member of the Atlanta-based development program, The Skills Factory (TSF) National, to train and improve his chances of becoming the first-ever full-blooded Filipino to be drafted in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The 7’2″ center Kai has already seen and visited the University of Kentucky in Lexington, the school known to have the most successful basketball program. It is the home of the famous Wildcats that have both the best all-time win and all-time winning percentage and is currently coached by John Capilari.

A day after his visit to the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Sotto was seen in the Atlanta-based Georgia Tech.

Sotto posted on social media about his trip to the home of the Yellow Jackets which gave him a Yellow Jacket uniform to wear and a Georgia Tech basketball to make him feel at home.

Coach Dave Leitao of DePaul University in Chicago visited Sotto at home and talked with his family to deliver a more personal approach.

Kai Sotto is currently in the U.S. as part of the Skills Factory National to train. Photo from Kai Sotto social media.

Schools like Auburn, Nebraska, Southern Cal are some of the other programs showing interest in Sotto who has expressed interest in finding out if the Filipino is serious about playing college basketball. European teams have also expressed interest in Sotto playing for them.

“He’s a big-time prospect,” Daniel Evan of 24/7 sports national analyst told the Herald-Leader. “He’s legit over seven-feet tall and, for his size, has very good mobility, a very good set of hands, and really nice touch around the basket. He’s got some scoring moves in his arsenal. He can step away from the rim and play out of the high post. He can make jump shots all the way out to the high school three-point line. The offensive package is pretty advanced and continues to get better. From a talent standpoint, he’s pretty gifted.”

Kai Sotto played for the Ateneo Blue Eagles Basketball Team and brought home many victories in international competitions such as the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2018 in Foshan, China. The win over Japan sent the Philippines to the U17 World Cup in Argentina. Sotto also played in the U18 Asia Championship 2018 in Nonthaburi, Thailand and the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece in 2019.

Another fast-rising basketball star, Kobe Paras, was previously scouted to play in the U.S. Paras has returned to the country and has led the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons to a podium finish at the UAAP Season 82.

SEND well wishes in the comments below to Kai Sotto as he considers all the opportunities that are laid out in front of him and let’s hope these schools and their basketball programs and coaches would help him maximize his potential as a basketball player.

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Eldan Sambatyon
Eldan is an experienced online content writer who finds fulfillment in sharing the good side of the news to Filipinos.