Mark Dickel had the opportunity to see Kai Sotto up close during his time in Ateneo until he flew to the USA. And he couldn’t help but marvel with how the 7-foot-2 wunderkind has improved since.
“He’s improved a lot in the last year,” he said. “Got to spend a little bit of time with him because I live right across the road from Ateneo and I’ve seen a lot of his practices.
“I think he’s a super talent.”
The TNT KaTropa active consultant said as much in the Hoop Coaches International Webinar hosted by Blackwater. During the session, he was asked about Sotto’s decision to skip college and join the NBA G-League.
The 18-year-old has been making headlines this week after signing with the G-League’s professional pathway program, becoming the first international prospect to do so.
There, he joins Fil-Am sensation Jalen Green, as well as other top prospects in Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix.
Dickel has no criticism for the path Sotto has chosen. But the two-time Olympian offered some advice for the second-generation cager to work on in pursuit of his NBA dream.
Firstly, he should have the ability to shoot from the outside, since the game has evolved over the last few years. The big men of today can stretch the floor and effectively knock down shots.
“He has shown the ability to shoot the ball. But the game is changing all the time, so he’s gonna have to be able to stretch the ball up to the three-point line,” said the Kiwi bench tactician.
Dickel, though, doesn’t have any issues with the Gilas Pilipinas Youth product’s prowess on the offensive end.
“I’m sure on offense, in three to four years from now, Kai is gonna be a good enough player to be able to get give every team anywhere in the world problems.”
Still, offense is just one part of the game. And for Dickel, what Sotto should really focus on is defense, particularly guarding screen and rolls as that has been the thing in the NBA.
“He’s gonna have to be able to guard screen and rolls really well in order for him to make the NBA or to be an NBA prospect. I think he can do that,” the UNLV alumnus said. “But that’s the hardest thing for big guys: to learn how to guard screen and rolls. If you’re him the offensive end is gonna be far far easier than the defensive end.
“If he can work on his agility, if he can work on his strength a little bit, if he can work on his quickness, if he can really work on guarding screen and rolls because in the NBA that’s all there is. Screen and roll, screen and roll, screen and roll. How is he going to get really, really good at doing that? If he can, then there’s a role for him in the NBA.”