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Knicks Welcome 7-4 Filipino Star Prospect For Workout

Kai Sotto, seeking to become the first Filipino-born NBA draftee, has been compared to a former Knicks star by his father.

The New York Knicks will be among the 12 teams to work out National Basketball League star Kai Sotto, per PhilStar Global. Sotto is a 7-foot-4-inch interior man looking to become the first Filipino-born player to partake in NBA action. 

Born in Las Pinas, Sotto burst onto the recruiting scene with a standout performance in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, guiding his Blue Eagles of Ateneo de Manila High School to a gold medal in 2018 via a double-double average that yielded MVP honors (17 points, 13 rebounds in the three-game showing). After working with the preparatory program known as The Skill Factory in Atlanta, Sotto drew interest from several major NCAA basketball programs, including Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Kentucky.

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Sotto instead opted to join the NBA G League Ignite, an alternative developmental team in the Association's minor league but ended his tenure early due to logistical issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the NCAA declining his eligibility due to signing with the professional Ignite, he instead joined the Adelaide 36ers of Australia's National Basketball League. Averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over 23 games, Sotto went on to earn the NBL's Fans MVP Award last season before declaring for the NBA Draft in April. 

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Sotto's father Ervin, who previously played in one of the Philippines' top basketball leagues, remarked that his son's "height, body structure, and movement" was comparable to former Knicks draft pick and All-Star Kristaps Porzingis in a 2020 interview with PhilStar Global.

Two American-born players of Filipino descent have appeared on NBA Draft ledgers: Marcus Douthit was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004 while Andray Blatche went to the Washington Wizards in the following season. The latter would play nine NBA seasons between Washington and Brooklyn. 

Following Tuesday's developments at the NBA Draft Lottery, the Knicks currently own two picks amongst next month's selections. The lottery yielded the 11th choice in the opening round while they also appear in the 42nd overall slot in the latter.