Aussie phenom Dante Exum will head to NBA next season

The 18 year old Australian will enter the NBA draft in June, bypassing college basketball. He is considered one of the top players in what is expected to be one of the most talent-rich drafts in years.

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Australian basketball phenom Dante Exum has decided to enter the 2014 National Basketball Association entry draft, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

The 18 year old from Melbourne has decided not to play college basketball and will instead try to go professional.

Exum is considered one of the top-rated prospects for the draft and is expected to be chosen in the first half of the opening round. Some NBA scouts have him ranked in the top five, ESPN said.

Exum gave up his option to play collegiate basketball when he signed a contract with sport agent Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports Agency.

“We are excited to be working with Landmark Sports,” Exum told ESPN.

Exum averaged 18.2 points and 3.8 assists over nine games in last year’s FIBA U-19 championships and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Exum is the son of former Denver Nuggets draft pick Cecil Exum, who also played at the University of North Carolina. He will make the fifth current Australian player in the NBA, joining a group that includes Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Aron Baynes (San Antonio). He’ll be the 15th Australian in the league since Luc Longley broke ground for Aussies with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1991. Longley went on to win three NBA titles as a teammate of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the 1996-98 Chicago Bulls.

This year’s draft is considered to be one of the strongest fields in several years.

The draft will take place June 26 in New York.