Jazz draft Australian point guard Exum
Thursday , June 26, 2014 - 8:32 PM
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz selected Australian guard Dante Exum with the fifth overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.
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 U.S.
Exum, 18, had limited exposure until that event and did not work out for the Jazz in the weeks leading up to the draft. But his father, Cecil, won a national championship at North Carolina in 1982 with Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
Exum, who led his high school to the 2013 Australian School Championship, is believed to be able to play alongside Trey Burke at shooting guard or play the point.
Many experts pegged Arizona forward Aaron Gordon to be Utah’s selection but the Orlando Magic took Gordon at No. 4.
Last season the Jazz went 25-57, the team’s worst record since 1979-80 when they went 24-58 following the franchise’s relocation from New Orleans.
Earlier this month the Jazz hired Atlanta Hawks assistant Quin Snyder to replace coach Tyrone Corbin, who was let go earlier this year after three-plus seasons.
Snyder, who is making his debut as an NBA head coach, was the head coach at Missouri from 1999 to 2006, leading the Tigers to four NCAA tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2002.
On the eve of the draft, the Jazz also extended a qualifying offer to Gordon Hayward, making him a restricted free agent. The Jazz now can match any offer the 6-foot-8 guard/forward gets on the free-agent market.
Hayward averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 77 games, all starts, with the Jazz last season.