Click here to submit your sports results for The Canberra Times

Dante Exum handling the hoopla

As the NBA season kicked off this week, on the other side of the planet in the basketball training hall at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra is one of the hottest properties for next year's draft.

Dante Exum is taking the hype, hoopla and expectation of a potential multimillion dollar contract in his stride.

American sports network ESPN has been in contact. Sports Illustrated, too.

Exum, though, is going through his everyday routine.

The 18-year-old sensation wanted to watch the start of the Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers game on Thursday, but couldn't because he was in class at Lake Ginninderra College.

''I'm definitely paying closer attention to (the NBA), watching how some of the rookies are doing and seeing their transition from college basketball into the NBA,'' Exum said.


''I'm looking at it from a distance and see if I fit in there I guess.''

This time next year, the athletic 1.98m point guard could be trading textbooks for a spot on an NBA roster.

He's yet to decide whether to throw himself in the mix or delay his arrival in favour of a stint with a US college.

ESPN has listed Exum as the possible the No.3 overall pick, the highest for an Australian since Andrew Bogut was the first selection in 2005.

''I definitely want to be picked top 10,'' Exum said.

''You go to a team that needs you and it'd be a chance to play 10-15 minutes [per game] as a rookie and possibly more depending on how you play.

''I'm focused on finishing school then I'll try and get over [to the US] and see a few colleges and from there see what I want.

''It's about picking the best option.''

Exum burst on to the scene at this year's under-19 world championships, leading the Australian team in scoring with 18.2 points a game.

He caught the eye with his quickness and ability to get to the rim, while his 2.02m wingspan gives him an advantage on the defensive end.

A couple of cameos off the bench for the Boomers in the Oceania world championship qualifying series with New Zealand gave Exum the chance to play alongside current NBA players Patty Mills and Aron Baynes, who are both at the San Antonio Spurs.

Exum's only setback is a patellar tendonitis injury that will keep him off the court for the next couple of weeks.

AIS senior men's basketball coach Paul Goriss has monitored Exum's progress closely during his three years on scholarship in Canberra.

Goriss said Exum is the same down to earth kid who arrived from Melbourne as a 15-year-old and believed staying in Australia would work in his favour in the lead-up to the draft.

''I know the decision's playing on his mind, but he's fairly easygoing about it,'' Goriss said.

''He probably hasn't got the pressure of playing in the US where there would be more hype surrounding him.

''He doesn't put himself above anyone else, he's the ultimate teammate and I don't think he'd want it any other way.''