5 players to watch at Orlando Magic Summer League
5. Kai Sotto
Perhaps the most internet-famous player on this list, Kai Sotto stands at 7-foot-3 and if he were to make the league he would become the first full-blooded Filipino in the NBA. He really has the hopes of a nation on his shoulders — as his strong Internet support would certainly suggest.
He is the only center on the Magic summer league roster and the tallest player in all of Summer League (so far in the rosters that have been revealed, although 7-foot-5 Victor Wembanyama is expected to make his San Antonio Spurs debut in Las Vegas).
So who is the mystery man?
Sotto, hailing from the Philippines, dominated at an early age in the Junior League of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). In his rookie year, at age 14, he won Rookie of the Year and led the league in blocks with 1.5 rejections per game.
In his second season, he led his team to a championship while winning the finals MVP. In the three-game finals series, he averaged 17.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 6.3 blocks per game.
In his third and final season, he won the regular season MVP while averaging 25.1 points, 13.9 boards and 2.6 blocks per game.
His production as a youngster caught the eyes of many college coaches and after moving to Atlanta to play for the Skill Factory — a college prep program — he was ranked as a consensus 4-star recruit.
In 2021, he decided to forego college to join the G-League Ignite team. Unfortunately for Sotto, he never played for the Ignite as he decided to play for the Philippine National team which – despite being able to return to the U.S. – provided too many COVID-19 logistical issues for him to play.
He was later released and the earliest he could enter the draft was 2022 so he was caught in no-mans-land.
Continuing his quest to the NBA he would sign with a team in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) and enter his name into the 2022 NBA Draft.
Although he faced another setback when he went undrafted, Sotto dug in his heels and played another season in the NBL and got more play in the Japanese B.League.
He played decently in Australia the past two years, averaging 7.1 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game in 14.0 minutes per game in his two seasons playing in Australia.
Now, two weeks after receiving an invite from the Orlando Magic, he will have the best opportunity of his life to make the NBA.