The mysterious thing about Dante Exum is that he didn’t play college basketball. He’s still 18 and has been playing for the Australian Under-19 team.
So while it’s true he’s from a distant land, most of the mystery is because he’s so young.
There has been a handful of Aussies in the NBA before, but most of them played college basketball in the U.S. Utah’s Andrew Bogut played long enough at Utah to become the NBA’s No. 1 pick in 2005. New Mexico’s Luc Longley had a 10-year NBA career and became well known, thanks to his association with the Chicago Bulls.
Then there’s Patty Mills, the Australian citizen who plays for the San Antonio Spurs. Enough said.
BYU fans will recall Matthew Dellavedova, formerly of St. Mary’s. He is now with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Exum, on the other hand, is coming straight from youth basketball in Australia to the NBA. Thus, there’s not a ton of film and scouting on him. But with Joel Embiid expected to slide far in the draft, Exum was projected to go in the top three, right behind Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Instead the Jazz got him at No. 5.
The Jazz already have decent guards, but when you get a chance at a player with Exum’s talent, you take him and, as general manager Dennis Lindsey noted, “let nature take its course.”