|Jazz draft Australian PG Exum and F Hood|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 26 June 2014 18:33|
The Jazz took Australian guard Dante Exum with the fifth overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night after having traded for eventual starter Trey Burke in the 2013 draft.
It is hoped that Exum, who led his high school to the 2013 Australian School Championship, will play alongside Burke at shooting guard, or play the point.
The 6-foot-6 teenager burst onto the scene at the U19 FIBA World Championship in Prague as his team advanced to the semifinals. He averaged 18.2 points during the tournament and decided to enter the draft instead of playing collegiately in the United States.
''I'm just a kid from Melbourne, Australia and I won't be a mystery anymore,'' Exum told ESPN. ''I'm looking forward to playing with another great guard. It will be a good experience and I'm looking to go into this system and learn.''
In April 2013, Exum participated in the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit for the World Select Team where he recorded 16 points in a 112-98 win over the U.S. junior team.
Exum, 18, had limited exposure until that event and did not work out for the Jazz in the weeks leading up to the draft. His father, Cecil, won a national championship at North Carolina in 1982 with Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
Burke spoke with Exum and welcomed him to the team.
''He told me he was happy they drafted me. That means a lot when it's coming from him as a point guard and that he's open to us playing alongside each other,'' Exum said.
The Jazz also added Duke forward Rodney Hood with the No. 23 pick of the NBA draft.
''You want to hear your name called as quick as possible but at the same time, I landed with a really good team with great fans,'' Hood said.
Hood, 21, played one year at Mississippi State and then sat out a season before averaging 16.1 points and shooting 42 percent from behind the 3-point line as a team captain at Duke.
The 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward was named to the 2014 All-ACC second team and is the first Duke player ever drafted by the Jazz.
The left-handed sharpshooter gives Utah some insurance in case the team is not able to retain restricted free agent Gordon Hayward. Hood can score off the dribble and is regarded as a good defender.
''I'm a guy who can shoot, can score the ball. I add some depth on the wing and I'm a guy who wants to win and prove himself,'' Hood said.
Exum, who has been living and working out in Los Angeles for the past five months, was coveted by the Jazz leading up to the draft. With the Australian National Team, Exum was in a three-man rotation with Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova and all three consider themselves point guards.
''Earlier in the day, my agent told me the Jazz liked me and would take me if I was there at number five,'' said Exum, who cites his speed and quickness as his best assets.
Exum said he was excited to play under new Utah coach Quin Snyder, who was a point guard at Duke.
''He already gave me some ideas of how he can help me grow and help me on my journey,'' Exum said.
''I can't wait to get to Utah to get to know the people, the fans and the team,'' Exum said in an interview piped into the Jazz's Energy Solutions Arena, which erupted with cheers when it became clear Exum would still be available at No. 5.
''I'm here for a reason and I'm ready to get a job done. I'm here to win,'' he said. ''I get to go to a situation where they have a rich history and a good team culture.''
The Jazz also selected Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes with the 35th pick Thursday night, then dealt him to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Memphis sends the Jazz a second-round pick in the 2016 draft in exchange for Stokes, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound post player who averaged 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds as a junior last season and collected nearly four offensive rebounds a game.