In a few days Dante Exum will be drafted by an NBA franchise. That decision is out of his control, though, he will likely hear his name called within the first five — potentially first three — selections.
Up until late January, Exum had the option of deciding where he would spend next season. On January 28, he signed with an agent, abruptly ending any possibility of him committing to play college basketball for the 2014-2015 season.
Late last summer, Exum was still torn between declaring for the draft or enrolling in college. He eventually listed a handful of finalists — Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Oregon — and even intended on taking visits to each of those schools.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN wrote a profile on Exum earlier this week. In that piece, the 6-foot-6 guard reveals he would have committed to Indiana had he gone to college.
Exum finished his high school career in Australia, graduating in December while weighing his options: to realize his dream of playing college basketball or to go directly to the NBA. He trimmed his list to five schools: Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan and Oregon. Cecil says that Kentucky’s John Calipari even threw out the possibility of Dante joining Kentucky for the second semester of the season and jumping right into the fire.
“He would have been at a major disadvantage,” Cecil said. “Behind the eight-ball. I shot that down and told the other schools that was not an option.”
Dante maintains that he would have chosen to play for Tom Crean at Indiana, the lone school he actually visited, if he had opted to go the college route.
Indiana finished 17-15 (7-11 Big Ten) in 2013-2014 after losing four starters from the previous season. Noah Vonleh ended up joining Exum in the 2014 NBA Draft class, and several rotation players have since transferred out of the program. Returning point guard Yogi Ferrell won’t play alongside Exum next season, but he will be joined in the Hoosiers’ back court by top-50 incoming freshmen James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson.
The Philadelphia 76ers are projected to take Exum with the third overall pick on Thursday night, according to DraftExpress.com.