Kai Sotto made a great move by taking his talents Down Under.
Rajko Toroman offered as much, lauding the 18-year-old’s decision to sign with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League last April.
“In my opinion, it was a great move,” the former Gilas Pilipinas head coach told Radyo5’s Power and Play with Kom Noli Eala, Saturday.
Sotto signing with the four-time NBL champs came months after parting ways with NBA G League’s Ignite, the NBA’s own professional pathway program.
For Toroman, the G League is ‘too strong’ for Sotto at this point.
“I think that the G League is too strong for this moment for Kai Sotto. He’s not athletic enough for the G League,” he said.
At the same time, the Serbian mentor observed that the league is more guard-oriented and big men like Sotto aren’t involved that much.
“I was watching a lot of games looking for the players, that is a league of the small players,” the current Indonesia chief mentor opined.
“You know because everybody of them is looking for the NBA contract. And they don’t give the ball to the big guy too much.”
And that is why Sotto made the best decision to go to the NBL, which Toroman described as ‘a very strong league’ given the quality of talent.
“The Australian league is a great league … That’s a very strong league, with excellent domestic players,” he said. “Very strong, very good big guys.
“I think that was the best move, at this moment, for Kai Sotto, you know, to try to find the confidence in this kind of league.”
Moreover, Toroman also liked that Sotto will be handled with a decorated mentor in Conner Henry. And he said the same about Thirdy Ravena’s decision to re-up with San-En NeoPhoenix as Toroman feels that the 6-foot-3 swingman has yet to sponge all the knowledge he can from Branislav Vićentić.
“They’re playing in a strong league. Thirdy, I have to say he has a Serbian coach and Serbian players who are playing with him. This season was not so great, but Thirdy was hurt and it’s a part of the season. But he’s an extremely athletic player, and these experiences in Japan will help him go to the next level and help with the national team,” he said.
“Even in the first window, he was the best player for the national team against us, 23 points, something like that. That’s the best for him.”
However, the decorated mentor could not offer the same praise for Kobe Paras’ decision to join East West Private in the United States.
Unlike the rest of the world, the only path a pro player can go to in the States is either through the G League or the NBA itself — both of whom are tough leagues to crack.
“I don’t think that the move of Paras will be that great, because you can only play there [in the US] in the G League and the NBA. If you cannot be the main guy, if you’re sitting on the bench, you will not get anything from that,” he opined.
“Otherwise individual practice is okay, but just for one month and not for the whole season. You have to play because without playing, you cannot improve,” he continued.
“I think that Thirdy and Kai Sotto made a better move going to Japan and Australia.”