12 Feb 2014
When Dante Exum walked through the doors of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in January 2011 he brought a strong basketball pedigree with him.
Like a number of the current “young guns” in Australian basketball such as fellow Boomer Ben Simmons and Keanu Pinder, Dante’s father Cecil came out from the United States in the late 1980s when the National Basketball League (NBL) enjoyed enormous popularity.
“Basketball has always been part of my family and I have grown up around it with my dad coaching so that has been good for my development,” Dante said.
After growing up in Melbourne, Exum then spent three years on scholarship at the AIS in Canberra honing his basketball skills under coaches Ian Stacker and Paul Goriss, while attending Lake Ginninderra College.
“The AIS played a huge part in my development and Paul Goriss and Ian Stacker took my game to the next level,” he said.
Recently Exum was added to the Boomers squad and received court time against the New Zealand Tall Blacks.
Goriss, the former AIS men’s coach and current Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence women’s coach, believes the 18-year-old has what it takes to make it in the NBA.
“He is competitive, he has a high work ethic and he comes in every day wanting to get better,” Goriss said.
After considerable thought and consultation with his family, coaches and other players, Dante has made the big decision to bypass college basketball in the United States and nominate for the NBA draft on June 26.
“The main thing was that I felt comfortable,” said Exum, who will move to Los Angeles shortly to prepare for the draft.
“My family played a big part in my decision and I definitely had a lot of help from basketball people both here and in the United States.”
“The AIS has helped me progress and take that next step to the NBA draft.”
In a last minute tweet before he left Canberra recently, Dante summed up his feelings by saying “Going to miss this place…. The AIS will always be a home away from home”