Jazz rookie Dante Exum has already been through a whirlwind of interviews in his first few weeks on the job and today took to the national radio airwaves for a conversation with Jim Rome.
Here are the highlights from the interview. You can listen to the entire segment here:
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On the last few weeks of his life:
“It’s been a crazy experience and you don’t understand until you’re actually doing it. I’m flying to a new city which I’m calling home now and getting straight into training with a new team, then I’m out in Vegas playing some games. It’s just been a crazy whirlwind for me.”
How has summer league gone so far? Differences in play coming from Australia?
“Basketball is the same everywhere you go. It’s just adjusting to the game and how it’s played. I just try to get into the game and be as calm as possible and not let nerves take over and learn at 100 miles per hour. It was Just about me playing a bit slower.”
On being a mystery in the draft:
“It has its benefits, but also it’s a negative at some points. People didn’t think I should be going as high as possible, but I got picked up by a team, so I think I’m deserving of where I’ve gone. It was a good opportunity for me, I got a chance to do some Adidas Foot Locker commercials, which were funny and backed me up with no one knowing who I am. It was a fun experience and a different experience.”
Was the NBA always on your radar growing up in Australia?
“Yeah, for every young kid playing basketball, you always want to play in the NBA. It’s been my dream for the longest and I think I was around 15 when I said to myself ‘I’ve got to start to take it a bit more serious if I want to get to there.’”
Why bypass college to go straight to the NBA?
“With the ruling and me being an international player, it let me go into the draft this year. I had a talk with my family and we decided why take a different path to my dream when I’ve got my dream right in front of me.”
On the Nike Hoop Summit, featuring players like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid:
“I always knew I could play with those players, it was just getting the opportunity. I just wanted to go into the game to make the most of my opportunity. After that, to know that all the hard work that I’d done had paid off and I had finally been in the talks of mock drafts and all that, it was just a huge accomplishment for me.”
Why did you want to guard Andrew Wiggins at the Nike Hoop Summit?
“I’ve always been the guy that everyone is looking at, but then you go there and they’re looking at him. I thought the best way to get noticed by NBA scouts was to guard him and if I got a stop on him… then it would give them a chance to watch me. That was my intention going to the hoop summit.”
What advice has your dad given you about playing in the NBA?
“He’s more about ‘just enjoy it.’ He said there’s a lot of hard work that goes into it, don’t get too caught up in just working hard and not enjoy yourself. That’s what I’ve been trying to do where I’ve been trying to work as hard as possible, but at the same time enjoying the moment and taking everything in.”
On getting cut from an Under-16 team in Australia:
“I guess I did. I got cut from what we would call a state team. It didn’t take me too long to get over it; my parents were very good to help me get through that. They had brought me over to the States for a camp in which I participated in. Even though I didn’t make that team, I still got an opportunity.”
On sharing the backcourt with Trey Burke:
“It’s been good. We have coach Quin Snyder, who’s done an awesome job in putting in a system that complements both of us. The whole idea of us is whoever gets the rebound goes and plays the one. In our offense, our one, two or three can play the point guard. So, it’s a good thing to have where you have a lot of versatility within the team.”
How good can this young Jazz team be in a couple of years?
“That’s the plan obviously. We are a very young team and I think over the next couple of years, it’s about learning to play with each other and how we can be successful. Hopefully we all stay together and build a great relationship and are able to get back into a winning team.”