UNC Looking at Exum

LAS VEGAS --- The UNC coaches spent the three July evaluation periods tracking their commitments and top targets, while also evaluating some new names. One new name to surface on their radar is the son of a former Tar Heel.

Dante Exum, a 6-foot-4 native of Australia, played at the Super 64 event this past week with the Australian Institute of Sport during the final evaluation period.

Joining a newly assembled group that had to face travel teams that have been together all spring and summer was difficult for Exum and his team, but he said the experience was invaluable.

"It's been very hard for us coming off a plane and we haven't played together before," Exum said. "It's been really good for us to get out against the American teams because they are obviously top of the world so we came here to try and get better."

For AIS, Exum spent time playing on the ball. His ball skills are advanced, his vision is impressive and his ability to get into the lane stuck out.

"I just get to the basket," Exum said when asked what he does best. "I have a quick first step and I try to blow past my defender and find open plays under the basket.

"Any position I can play, I will. Whether [my teammates] pick up the one or I do, it doesn't really matter."

Exum earned national recognition for his play with Australia's 17U team earlier this month. He led his team with 17.2 points per game, which made him the fourth-highest scorer among all participants at the FIBA Americas Championship. He led Australia to a 6-2 record and the silver medal. Both losses came against the United States squad, but Exum averaged 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in those two games.

Exum plans to finish high school in Australia and then make his way to the United States to begin college in 2014.

To date, Exum has scholarship offers from SMU, LSU and Boise State. All three schools watched him extensively at the Super 64. North Carolina is among the schools that have evaluated him.

Exum has a special connection to North Carolina. His father, Cecil, played for the Tar Heels.

Cecil Exum, an N.C. native, was a reserve forward for Dean Smith from 1980-84. He played pro ball in Australia and has remained in the country ever since.

"My dad played there, so I know a fair bit from just watching them," Exum said of UNC. "I watch them mostly."

Prior to the event, Exum was in contact with the UNC basketball staff, and the Carolina coaches logged multiple viewings last week in Las Vegas.

"They are starting to look at me," Exum said. "They just told me they were going to come watch my games here. They told me to do what I do and to show them what I can do."

Despite living in Australia, Exum said he knows quite about UNC.

"Great school," he responded. "It's definitely a great school. I would love to go there."

Considering the bloodlines, can the Tar Heels be considered an early favorite?

"I don't know," he said. "It depends what I look at with courses and education. The basketball is good there, so I know that."


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