Dante Exum. You've probably never heard of him in the past, but judging by the way the media in America have talked him up, you can be sure to hear plenty of him in the future. The 18-year-old Aussie basketball ace appears to have a bright future, such a bright future infact that he has already been compared to NBA royalty such as Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobli and even arguably the greatest man to ever grace a basketball court, Michael Jordan. Exum is one of the most talked about up and coming players, and that can be seen in the several Footlocker adverts he features in.
Exum grew up in East Melbourne, raised by American parents Cecil and Desiree. His extraordinary skills with the orange ball are genetic, handed down by his father. Cecil Exum played college basketball at the University of North Carolina and featured in the 1982 NCAA Championship winning team that included the likes of James Wothy and the one and only, Michael Jordan. Barely six months ago, Exum was competing in the Australian National High School Championships. On Friday, he is expected to be among the top picks in this year’s NBA draft and there are a number of teams that are chasing his autograph. So, who are the leading contenders?
The Magic are joint favourites to win the signature of Exum, and they may see him as a figure to push them up the ranks in the Eastern Conference. Orlando finished at the bottom of the Southeast Division standings and could certainly use the services of the 18-year-old.
Like the Magic, Utah Jazz found themselves rooted to the bottom of their Division at the season’s end, and the introduction of Exum would be a welcome one. They join the Magic as the top runners in the race.
There has been speculation that the Cleveland Caveliers could spring a surprise and select Exum as the number one draft pick. That decision would see him joining fellow Aussie Matthew Dellavedova and Australian-born Kyrie Irving at the Central Division team.
Milwaukee have shown in the past that they aren’t afraid of recruiting Aussies, with Andrew Bogut their first round pick back in 2005. It isn’t expected he ends up with the Bucks, but several media outlets in the US claim Exum is certainly in their sights.
Despite their price, the 76ers look like the prime candidates to pick up Exum. The youngster has experience working alongside Philly’s head coach Brett Brown during his time in the national side. His dad Cecil also played under Brown during his stint with the Melbourne Tigers, and the 76er’s shot caller will be all too familiar of Exum’s pedigree.
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