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Philippines phenom Kai Sotto models his game after Tim Duncan, wants to be a Spur

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Is it too early to start look forward to the 2021 Draft?

2020 NBA All-Star - BWB Camp Photo by Nicole Sweet/NBAE via Getty Images

Is it too early to start looking towards the 2021 NBA Draft? Because there’s a certain G-League phenom who is modeling himself after Tim Duncan and dreams of becoming a Spur. His name is Kai Sotto: an 18-year-old, 7’1” center from the Philippines. (Various sites also list his height as 7’2” and 7’3”.) He ranks as the 65th best player in ESPN’s college basketball Class of 2020, although he is foregoing the college route and going straight to the NBA G-League.

Specifically, he was recruited to the new select team known as the Ignite: a new team founded as a means to give players an alternate route to the NBA draft as opposed to college or playing overseas, along with an income.

A team dedicated to developing top young players through a one-year program, NBA G League Ignite is focused on NBA Draft readiness and growth of professional life skills. The team will eventually be filled with veteran players to help mentor the prospects.

Ignite, which is unaffiliated with any existing NBA G League franchise or NBA team, will participate in exhibition games against other NBA G League teams and international clubs and will play 10-12 games that won’t count against the standings.

Sotto is one of two international prospects on the Ignite, located in Walnut Creek, California. He recently did an interview with sister site Nets Daily’s Ajayi Browne, a Filipino native, and discussed many topics, including the different style of play between the US and Asia, having to explain his decision not to go to college to his mother, and much more.

The entire thing is worth the read. However, there was one quote that caught has Spurs fans’ eyes:

Sotto says he models himself after Tim Duncan and when he was asked what team in the playoffs he’d like to join if he could, he first told me, “I want to say the Spurs, but the Spurs are not in the playoffs anymore.”

This is not the first time Sotto has praised the GOATPUFF:

As for mentality, Sotto without hesitation cited former San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan – widely regarded as one of the greatest ever in his position, known as “The Big Fundamental” for his reliability.

“I really look up to Tim Duncan. I always see him as this player that doesn’t need to trash talk his opponents, doesn’t complain – that’s just me. Seeing him always locked in, and he’s a winner. That’s what I want to be,” Sotto said.

Assuming the G-League resumes this upcoming season, Spurs fans might have even more reason to watch than just to see what’s going on in Austin. Just another reason to look forward to the end of — (creepy music plays) — 2020.