Jeremy Lin wants Kai Sotto to keep his head up after the Filipino basketball player went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Sotto, 20, studied for three years in high school at Ateneo de Manila High School and played for the school’s junior basketball program, the Ateneo Blue Eaglets in Quezon City. He led his team to a UAAP Basketball Championship.
Sotto eventually moved to the United States in 2019 and joined the Skills Factory in Atlanta, Georgia. In May 2020, he joined the G League developmental team Ignite but left without playing a single game to sign a professional contract with Adelaide in the NBL, ESPN reports.
The 7-foot-3 player posted 7.5 points on 49.6 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in over 15 minutes through 24 games, according to ESPN. Unfortunately, his stats did not entice teams during the 2022 NBA Draft.
Lin hopes that Sotto continues to push forward. In an interview with ESPN conducted during Thursday’s draft, he expressed his support for Sotto.
“I’ve met Kai, I’ve played against Kai, I’ve played with Kai. During the G League Ignite, I spent a couple of days with them so I’m rooting for him too,” Lin said.
The NBA champion also went undrafted before being signed by the Golden State Warriors. He would later go on to become an icon for the New York Knicks during a 2012 stretch known as “Linsanity.” Lin advised Sotto to keep working hard no matter what happened during the draft.
“If they get drafted, I think every player — including Kai — needs to understand that, ‘okay, a team believes in me but I need to continue to work so that I can really earn their trust and be here long term’,” Lin said in his ESPN interview.
“And if he doesn’t get drafted, I would also say ‘hey, it’s okay’. Because you know who you are as a player and maybe if you just continue to show them, over time you will find a home.”
He added that he ultimately hoped Sotto finds a way to stay confident and consistent.
Sotto still has the opportunity to be invited to the NBA Summer League. Tim Cone, who’s set to join the Miami Heat coaching staff, hopes to see him in the summer league. According to The Philippine Star, Cone is the winningest Phillippine Basketball Association coach.
“That’s important for him, to get to the Summer League and show he could play with the guys in the league,” Cone told The Philippine Star.
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