Kai Sotto's NBL Australia teammate declares for NBA draft

Kai Sotto's NBL Australia teammate declares for NBA draft

MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto's fellow Adelaide 36ers hooper Josh Giddey has declared for the 2021 NBA draft -- a move that Sotto can replicate in the near future.

Giddey, like Sotto, turned down US NCAA Division I program offers to pursue a different path to the NBA.

The 18-year-old spent one year with the 36ers where he posted norms of 11.09 points, 7.43 assists, and 7.13 rebounds in the Australian National Basketball League.

"Thank you to my coaches and teammates at the Adelaide 36ers for guiding me through my first professional season, and to the wider NBL community for the unbelievable experience I got to have as an 18-year-old," wrote Giddey on his official statement.

"With all of that being said, I feel like I'm ready to look toward the next step in my career," he added before announcing the decision to enter the draft.

Giddey's path can be almost identical to what Sotto can do a year from now when he becomes eligible for the 2022 NBA draft.

Diverting from the usual US NCAA Division I path to the NBA, Giddey used the NBL to springboard his draft stock to the NBA. He is now considered a possible lottery pick.

Sotto can also use his 36ers stint in the same way should he decide to pursue the NBA already next year.

He was deemed ineligible for the 2021 Draft because he had just graduated high school earlier this year.

Per the NBA Players Association, prospects must be a year removed from their high school graduation to be eligible for the draft.

Sotto is expected to join the 36ers in the 2021-22 season while also juggling responsibilities to the national team here in Gilas Pilipinas.