Dante Exum is one of the top international prospects in the class of 2014. The 18-year-old Australian guard could end up skipping college and jumping straight to the 2014 NBA Draft, though, according to reports he recently made to the Herald Sun.
Exum opened eyes on both the college and NBA sides of the coin earlier this summer at the U-19 FIBA World Championships when he helped lead Australia to a fight for the bronze medal. The 6'6 Exum averaged 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game in the tournament.
College scouts began to pay attention to what appears to be the best international prospect for next year, but the calls from Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and North Carolina might go unanswered now that Exum says he is split between college and the draft.
But recently they are saying that my stock has risen even more, that I could possibly go top five. Now it's more of a 50-50 decision.
The Melbourne-based teen originally seemed content with following in his father's footsteps and playing a few years of NCAA basketball in the states. Exum's father, Cecil Exum, played forward for the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Michael Jordan era.
Originally, a couple year's delay in what many scouts are touting as a very deep class seemed like a good idea. Exum's name is now being tossed around toward the top of the draft chatter with Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker and Marcus Smart, though, leading to him rethinking the college idea and declaring for the NBA Draft after another year of training in Australia.
Draft Express has Exum at No. 3 in a mock draft last updated on July 5. SB Nation's Jonathan Tjarks put him at No. 11 before the U-19 championships finished. Exum told the Herald Sun his dream has always been the NBA and that the money would be nice. If he goes within the top five of the 2014 NBA Draft, Exum would have a much larger guaranteed first-year salary.
"If I'm ready, I'm ready - and the money also appeals. I always dreamt about being rich as a kid. But my family will always help me make the right decisions throughout the whole process," he said.
There have been 13 Australian born players throughout NBA history, although only three are still active: Warriors center Andrew Bogut, Spurs guard Patrick Mills and Spurs forward Aron Baynes. Mills was the last Australian to be drafted, taken in the second round by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2009. Bogut is Australia's biggest draft story as he was taken with the top overall pick in the 2005 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.