Kai welcomes Shaw designation

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    AFTER the NBA G League officially named Brian Shaw as coach of the new select team yesterday, 7-foot-2 center Kai Sotto expressed his excitement to be under the tutelage of the former NBA champion.

    “Much respect and excited to be led by Coach Shaw,” Sotto posted on his Twitter account @kzsottolive.

    Shaw’s nearly 30 years of experience as an NBA player and coach proved to be among the keys in his appointment as strategist of the squad that will be bannered by athletic Fil-Am wingman Jalen Green, forward Isaiah Todd, playmaker Daishen Nix, and Sotto.

    “Brian’s extensive experience and success as an NBA player and coach make him a natural choice to lead the new NBA G League team,” said NBA G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim via NBA.com.

    “We look forward to watching these terrific young players develop their skills and grow as professionals under Brian’s leadership,” he added.

    Shaw had a 14-year stint in the NBA with Boston, Miami, Orlando, Golden State, Philadelphia, Portland, and the Los Angeles Lakers where he won three titles from 2000-2002 as backup to the late Kobe Bryant.

    He was also an associate coach for the Lakers under Luke Walton from 2016 to 2019 after a two-year head coaching job with the Denver Nuggets from 2013-2015.
    Shaw, 54, said he is ready to accept a new challenge in his career.

    “I’m excited to serve as head coach of the new NBA G League team,” said Shaw.  “This is a new and different challenge in my career, and I’m ready to get to work mentoring, coaching and developing the next generation of NBA stars.”

    The pioneering squad, likely to be based in Los Angeles, will play a limited schedule and won’t be affiliated with any individual G-League franchise.

    Under the G-League select program’s path, prospects who opt to skip college and take a year before entering the NBA Draft will be given a chance to play with veteran players and be coached by experienced tacticians like Shaw to provide mentorship throughout the season.

    Sotto, 18, is only the third Filipino to play in the NBA G-League after Japeth Aguilar with the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2012 and Ray Parks Jr. with the Texas Legends in 2015-16.

    A Batang Gilas standout and son of former pro Ervin, Sotto opted to forgo college and instead sign up with the select squad last May 11 in his bid to achieve something that has never been done by a homegrown Filipino cager: make it to the NBA.