Coach Norman Black is in awe with the growth Kai Sotto showed during Gilas Pilipinas’ bubble training but believes the 7-foot-3 prodigy is not ready yet to compete in the NBA. 

/ 25 April 2021

Meralco Bolts head coach Norman Black has shared his two cents on how Kai Sotto has been shaping his NBA dream.

First, Norman Black praises the progression of Kai Sotto as he had witnessed following he is part of the Nationals’ coaching staff in Laguna in preparation for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ third window.

“Definitely Kai has improved a lot. From his high school days at Ateneo up to this point, he has become a much stronger player, a much more aggressive player,” Black told Radyo’s Power and Play on Saturday.

For Norman Black, Kai Sotto’s activities in the United States had brought him huge progression but the decorated mentor gave his honest assessment that Sotto still has things to work on. 

“I’m not sure whether he’s ready for the NBA at this moment. I think he still has to improve more. I think he has to become a little bit more powerful around the basket. It’s either he has to become more powerful around the basket, or he has to really perfect his three-point shot. One or the other,” he averred.

The 63-year-old added Sotto’s ideal play in the NBA to be like the Dallas Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis, who had an outstanding outside shot, or to be of a player who is dominant underneath the basket.

“He’s gonna be out there stretching the floor like a Porzingis or somebody along those lines, a guy who can consistently hit the three. Or, he has to be able to hold his own better underneath the basket,” Black said. 

However in his duties in the national team against Asian teams, Black is in no doubt that Sotto will ace in all levels and claimed that Sotto can help the country rise as a powerhouse in Asia.

“Here in the Philippines, for the national team? Oh, he would be a great help. I hope he can join the team… He will give us a really good chance of being a powerhouse in this part of the world,” Black shared.

“It’s not just height. The kid is talented. He can shoot the basketball. At this level in Asia, he would be a difficult player to deal with. I can tell you that much from what I saw in practice. And he’s only gonna get better. He’s still young,” he continued.

“That’s why I’m saying he needs to train hard and continue to improve his skillset if he wants to make it to the NBA. But certainly, he can be a force in this part of the world,” Black closed.