With the news yesterday, John Calipari and the staff will have to look for a new option at point guard for the 2014 recruiting class. Tyler Ulis and Tyus Jones already have offers on the table from UK, but there is one highly touted point guard that has not received much buzz despite his high skill level. Dante Exum is a 6’6″ point guard from Australia who has received interest from many top schools. 6’6″ means he fits the moniker of Calipari point guard from a physical perspective. There was some buzz about him early in the summer, but the recruiting talk on Exum has gone quiet.
Exum splashed onto the recruiting scene with his play in the Nike Hoop Summit and FIBA U19 World Championships. He was on the All-Tournament team for the FIBA Championships after carrying his Australian squad to the semi-finals. The big question is why is Exum so forgotten in the 2014 point guard talk? The answer is Exum’s indecision on playing collegiate basketball next season. Exum already turned 18 and he is born outside the US. Both of those factors allow Exum to be eligible for the 2014 NBA draft unlike his fellow members of the 2014 recruiting class. While there is no doubt Exum would be a great addition to the 2014 draft, he has not fully committed to the idea partially because the 2014 draft is considered to be one of the more loaded draft classes in recent memory with point guards like Marcus Smart and Andrew Harrison likely to be in it.
Coaches like John Calipari, Tom Crean, and Roy Williams are hoping Exum chooses to stay a full year in college, sooner rather than later. All three coaches would be in a hotly contested battle for Exum. Crean has been recruiting Exum longer than the other two coaches, and Indiana was considered the favorite at one time. Williams has a trump card with Exum since his father played at UNC alongside Michael Jordan. Of course, Calipari has his track record with getting point guards to the NBA and the usual draws we know too well. There’s no doubting Exum’s talent. Matt Kamalsky of Draft Express loved Exum’s game from what he saw at the Nike Hoop Summit last spring. “An adept passer with speed to burn in the open floor, a great motor and an exceptionally high basketball IQ, the rest of the game comes easy to Exum. He plays with his head up, fills lanes on the break, and rebounds well for a guard. He’s a versatile defender with great quickness, improving physical strength, and a team-first mentality,” Kamalsky noted.
Until Exum makes a decision on playing college ball, he will likely remain the “forgotten point guard” by most people. Tyus Jones, Quentin Snider, and Tyler Ulis are point guards that will receive all of the recruiting buzz. If Exum does decide to attend college, expect a long recruiting battle between some of the blue bloods for a point guard with ideal size, handling, and passing.