Dante Exum.

Dante Exum was clearly the leader of the Canberra-based team. Photo: Eddie Jim

He looked a man among boys while stalking the showcase court on the opening day of the Australian Schools Championship at Kilsyth Basketball Stadium, which is why Melbourne teenager Dante Exum is a projected top-four pick in next year's NBA draft - should he nominate.

While the scouting reports of NBA experts have listed the mechanics of his outside shooting as a minor issue, Exum confirmed his ongoing improvement on Monday by coming off a screen and burying a three-pointer from the wing - from just in front of where his father Cecil, a former NBL forward, sat.

A minute later, the 198-centimetre 18-year-old combination guard dribbled the ball down court and buried a pull-up three-pointer.

Dante Exum.

Top draft prospect: Dante Exum. Photo: Eddie Jim

And if the small but appreciative crowd of fellow teenagers and NBL and Basketball Australia types was looking for an exclamation mark among his 32 points in leading his Canberra college team Lake Ginninderra College to a six-point win over Caulfield Grammar, it came with a one-handed dunk to finish an alley-oop.

Exum, who also flourishes when slashing to the hoop, is still raw but he clearly has a gift to play elite basketball.

''The hype is valid because of the excellent character that he has,'' Ginninderra coach Jason Denley said.

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That hype will only gain momentum should, as expected, the Australian Institute of Sport product, and emerging Boomer, nominate for June's NBA draft.

Exum, in Canberra on an AIS scholarship, says he will decide by February whether to do so, a move that would make him an instant millionaire. NBA draft experts, and leading US sports website ESPN, believe he would be a top-four selection and could even go No. 1 should he not want to spend at least one year developing at college level.

''To be honest, I haven't been thinking about it too much,'' Exum said. ''I am back home but my mum is still in Singapore, so she is going to head back soon. After that I will make my decision with my whole family.

''I want to get it done by February. It shouldn't be too hard [a decision] to make. But I just want to make sure I use my time right so I make the right decision.''

Next year's draft promises to be one of the deepest, and best, with several players, including Exum, viewed as potential ''franchise'' players able to carry a team for a decade.

College stars Jabari Parker, the do-it-all Duke forward, Kentucky power forward Julius Randle, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, Arizona's Aaron Gordon and Kansas' Andrew Wiggins are also coveted selections.

Exum, for the time being, is happy to stay in what he believes is relative anonymity in Australia, but NBA scouts are well aware of his ability, and a prominent US-based website, the Bleacher Report, is following him around this week. It's also hard to hide when you were named as an All-Star five at the FIBA under-19 world championships this year.

''There has been a lot of hype but I have kind of been undercover being in Australia,'' Exum said.''I don't mind it and I have adjusted well to it.''

Denley agrees, and says Exum's willingness to compete for his high school team - when this time next year he could be facing the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durrant and James Harden - underlines his maturity.

''There is a lot of pressure on him, but he is very grounded and he is keeping it all in his stride,'' Denley said.

''Dante could be thinking about that next stage, which is a massive stage, yet he has still shown the willingness to come and compete for his school at the Australian School Championships.''

Exum keeps a close eye on the performances of all fellow NBA draft prospects, but does not believe the likes of Parker and Wiggins have an advantage in terms of improving their ''stock'' because they are at college where players are meticulously drilled and learn the nuances of the game.

''They are getting an advantage and a disadvantage,'' he said. ''They might play bad and go down [in rankings]. It's the same with me. I am over here, not playing and they are not seeing me, but still my stock stays up.''

Exum has worked hard on his shooting. ''At the moment the things that we have been working on through the AIS and through his junior programs is definitely his outside shooting, his consistency, and also the ability to handle contact and traffic,'' Denley said.