The Legend of Dante Exum continues to grow.
The Australian high school basketball star has been a main attraction at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Prague this week. On Friday, Exum had 33 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals to lead the Aussies to an 87-76 upset victory over Spain and land a spot in the tournament semifinals.
Exum — a 6-foot-6 combo guard — is scheduled to graduate from high school in November and he’ll have several options for his basketball future going into 2014.
He could choose to enroll at a college in December and play during the second semester of the upcoming season. He could wait until next fall and play the entire 2014-15 season. He could also go straight to the NBA. Exum turns 18 later this month and will be eligible to enter next year’s NBA Draft, where he’s projected to be a lottery pick.
His name has popped up in discussion related to Kentucky recruiting, and his father told ESPN’s Dave Telep that UK has recently gotten involved in the recruitment. If Exum chooses to enroll during the middle of the 2013-14 season, he could be a big addition for the Wildcats, who will likely rely primarily on a three-guard rotation of the Harrison twins and James Young. Exum can play both guard positions.
But several other schools are already in the mix.
Exum took an official visit to Indiana earlier this year and has a solid relationship with Coach Tom Crean. He also has offers from Georgetown, SMU and LSU. His parents are originally from North Carolina and his father played for the Tar Heels alongside Michael Jordan and James Worthy in the 1980s. Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville and Duke have also been mentioned.
If Exum chooses to go to the NBA next year, he likely won’t wait long on draft night. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com updated his 2014 mock draft Friday and moved Exum to the No. 3 spot behind Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle.
DraftExpress.com’s Matt Kamalsky evaluated Exum at the Nike Hoop Summit in April.
“Exum stood out immediately with his speed, fluidity and ball-handling ability,” Kamalsy wrote. “A consummate team player who can do a little bit of everything, Exum still managed to be very effective for stretches in practice and score 16 points on game day despite the significant adjustment he had to make (going from point guard to shooting guard). Perhaps the most impressive thing Exum did throughout the week was get to the rim off the dribble. Without the ball in his hands constantly, Exum wasn’t able to create as much on the offensive as we saw last summer, but still managed to make his presence felt attacking from the wing.”
DraftExpress also shot workout video of Exum from the Hoop Summit, which you can watch here.
ESPN3 subscribers can see Exum and the Australian team play in Saturday’s semifinals at either noon or 2:15 p.m. They’ll play again Sunday at noon (if they lose Saturday) or 2:15 p.m. (if they win Saturday).