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Kai takes big bite of the Big Apple

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FIBA | KAI Sotto aims to become the first full-blooded Filipino to make it to the NBA.

Kai Sotto arrived in New York City for his third mini-camp with the hopes of playing for the National Basketball Association Summer League set from 7 to 17 July.

In a social media post on Monday, the 7-foot-3 Sotto said that he is currently staying in Westchester County in New York and is bracing for a workout with the Knicks.

The New York training is the third mini-camp for Sotto after attending that of the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks in the past couple of days.

New York could also be his final stop before the Summer League so the
21-year-old Filipino has to impress the Knicks’ coaches, scouts and talent evaluators.

Sideliners believe that Sotto has a handsome chance to land a roster spot with the Knicks.

The Knicks, after all, are projected to enter the 2023-2024 NBA season as an over-the-cap team so they are looking to work around the margins by filling out the backend of their roster with players on rookie deals and veteran minimum contracts.

The Knicks also do not own a pick in this year’s draft and have been working out prospects who are not projected to be selected, which include Washington State University sharpshooter Justin Powell, Louisiana State University big man KJ Williams, Virginia Tech’s Justyn Mutts, Georgia’s Terry Roberts, Connecticut’s Adama Sanogo and Kentucky’s Antonio Reeves.

But more than that, the Knicks are known to give chances to Asians as they have a wide fanbase in New York.

The latest Asian to don the Knicks jersey was Taiwanese-American Jeremy Lin, who came up with a string of explosive performances that fans dubbed as “Linsanity.”

Sotto said he is more confident this time compared to last year when he went undrafted.

“I feel like I’m a better player. I feel like I get better every day,” said Sotto, who gained experience while playing for the National Basketball League in Australia and the B. League in Japan.

“A lot of it is mental as well. I’ve learned a lot from my past experiences in all these different leagues, different games, and I just have to show it.”

“Those are the things that I can control and that’s what I’m focusing on.”

Tony Ronzone, Sotto’s agent, believes his talent will only go as far as it will take him if he doesn’t grab the opportunities presented to him.

“He’s right there. It’s just a matter of him grabbing and going through the process.  We’re escalating it quickly and trying to get him ready,” Ronzone, who used to work as Director of Player Personnel of the Mavericks, said.

“We have more mini-camps and we have continuous workouts. These next four weeks are going to be important.”

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