Jazz draft Australian guard Exum
Jun. 27, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz selected Australian guard Dante Exum with pick five in the NBA draft on Thursday, after having traded for eventual starting guard Trey Burke a year earlier.
It is hoped that Exum, who led his high school to the 2013 Australian School Championship, will play alongside Burke at shooting guard, or play the point.
The 18-year-old burst onto the scene at the U19 FIBA World Championship in Prague as his team advanced to the semifinals. He averaged 18.2 points during the tournament and decided to go straight into the draft instead of playing collegiate basketball in the United States.
"I'm just a kid from Melbourne, Australia and I won't be a mystery anymore," Exum told ESPN. "I'm looking forward to playing with another great guard. It will be a good experience and I'm looking to go into this system and learn."
In April 2013, Exum participated in the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit for the World Select Team where he recorded 16 points in a 112-98 win over the U.S. junior team.
Exum had limited exposure until that event and did not trial for the Jazz in the weeks leading up to the draft. His father, Cecil, won a national championship at North Carolina in 1982 alongside Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
Burke spoke with Exum and welcomed him to the team.
"He told me he was happy they drafted me. That means a lot when it's coming from him as a point guard and that he's open to us playing alongside each other," Exum said.
Exum, who has been living and working out in Los Angeles for the past five months, was coveted by the Jazz leading up to the draft. With the Australian National Team, Exum was in a three-man rotation with Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova and all three consider themselves point guards.
Exum said he was excited to play under new Utah coach Quin Snyder, who was a point guard at Duke.
"He already gave me some ideas of how he can help me grow and help me on my journey," Exum said.
"I can't wait to get to Utah to get to know the people, the fans and the team," Exum said in an interview piped into the Jazz's Energy Solutions Arena, which erupted with cheers when it became clear Exum would still be available at No. 5.
"I'm here for a reason and I'm ready to get a job done. I'm here to win," he said. "I get to go to a situation where they have a rich history and a good team culture."