The Kentucky basketball program made headlines not only locally or nationally, but internationally on Monday when they hosted 2020 four-star center and 7-foot-2 prospect Kai Sotto.
A star from the Philippines, Sotto moved to the United States earlier this year and is currently enrolled at The Skill Factory in Atlanta, GA. Now, he’s looking to play at the college level next year, with Kentucky being the first school he stopped in to see.
This morning, Evan Daniels of 247Sports – the first individual to break the news of Sotto’s visit – joined The Leach Report with Tom Leach to break down the 7-foot-2 star’s game and what’s next for him in his recruitment.
“This is a kid that made his way to the United States this past spring, but he’s been a name internationally for quite some time,” Daniels told Leach. “I’ve seen him at past FIBA events (in Argentina and Greece). He really does have talent. At 7-foot-1, he has impressive skill for a kid that size. He used to be pretty thin, but he’s added 10-15 pounds since I saw him last, I was able to watch him a few weeks ago. It looks like his body is starting to allow him to grow confidence. He’s just now starting to explore the college option, so we’ll see where it goes.”
Just how good is Sotto? Could he possibly be a one-and-done at the college level?
Daniels believes it’s a possibility.
“My guess is that he goes the college route for just one year,” he told Leach. “I think he has NBA potential and upside. It’s a difficult question to answer because I think a lot of these kids need more than one year, but kids are wanting to go earlier now. But he has the talent.”
So what about Sotto’s game does Daniels think will translate to the next level and beyond?
“He’s got a great set of hands, really nice touch,” Daniels said. “He can extend to the 3-point line, make shots with ease. He’s got really high potential. … He’s played in FIBA events over the last two years, averaged double-digits in both events. He’s famous in the Philippines, I think he’s trying to become the first NBA player from the Philippines.”
As for the interest in Kentucky, along with the rest of the schools reaching out, just how new is it? And where will he go from here?
“I think this is recent [mutual interest with Kentucky], any college interest is recent honestly.” he said. “He visited Kentucky, and I think he’s going to set up more visits. USC, Nebraska, and Georgia Tech are all trying to set up visits. But we’ll see where it goes.
“I think Kentucky wants and needs another post player in the class,” Daniels continued. “Kai Sotto going to college, a lot of people didn’t think that was going to be an option [because he was interested in playing professionally overseas]. There has been a change in the thought process over the last couple months, he’s been in Atlanta at The Skill Factory playing against American athletes. Now it looks like he’s going to college.”
ESPN has Sotto listed as a four-star, No. 76 overall prospect and No. 11 ranked center in the senior class. He is currently unranked in the 247Sports and Rivals rankings.
Here are some of his most recent highlights, including an 18-point, 12-rebound performance against IMG Academy this year:
ICYMI, Kai Sotto of @TheSkillFactory is on an unofficial visit to Kentucky today.
— SUVtv (@SUVtv) December 9, 2019