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Fan of college game, Tim Cone says Kai Sotto situation is unique

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Tiebreaker Times Fan of college game, Tim Cone says Kai Sotto situation is unique Basketball News  Tim Cone NBA Philippines Kai Sotto 2020-21 NBA G-League Season

Normally, Tim Cone would advise a prospect to head to college first before joining the pros.

But Kai Sotto’s case — and Fil-Am Jalen Green’s too — is extraordinary, according to the 22-time PBA champion tactician. Moreover, Cone fully supports the 7-foot-2 18-year-old’s decision to immediately make the leap to the G League.

“Let me say that normally, I will encourage everybody to go to college,” Cone said during a session of NBA Philippines’ Republika Huddle.

“But there are unique situations, and both Kai and Jalen (Green) are unique in the game of basketball.”

In the NBA’s minor league, Sotto will be under the tutelage of former NBA players and veteran coaches. He will get a salary while playing with his “batchmates” on a daily basis.

Sotto chose this path instead of committing to Division I universities like Kentucky, DePaul, and Georgia Tech.

“Right now, his ability to develop as a basketball player is the priority. So it’s a good idea what he did.

“The G League’s thrust is development. They have a lot of development-type coaches in the G League. The level of competition they will go against is much higher than it would be if they went as a freshman in college,” opined Cone, a former coach of Gilas Pilipinas.

Doubters would compare Sotto’s journey to the one Japeth Aguilar took during the late 2000s.

After two years in Ateneo, the 6-foot-9 Aguilar headed to Western Kentucky University. He would then play in the PBA and Gilas for three years before trying his luck once more in the US by entering the D-League draft.

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Though he was drafted as the 109th overall pick in the draft, Aguilar would not sign be signed by the Santa Cruz Warriors. He ended up returning home to the Philippines.

Asked about this, Cone opined that there is one key difference in the situations of Sotto and Aguilar — playing time.

“The key is that they are going to get playing time.

“I think that was the problem with Japeth Aguilar when he got to college — he didn’t get the guaranteed playing time that he thought he was going to get. He didn’t get that opportunity to develop,” lamented Cone.

Cone would continue that Sotto’s situation “…is not about winning. It’s about developing guys as a player. They will have tutors, they will have marketing people. It’s just something that is really well-thought-out.”

The 62-year-old tactician firmly believes that this decision will not just benefit Kai but also his entire family, including Cone’s former player Ervin.

“This is really probably the best, best chance for him to develop into the kind of player they are hoping for. I think it’s a good decision for them.”

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