The 2014 NBA draft class just got a little more crowded.
Australian prospect Dante Exum has decided to declare for this year's draft, according to ESPN's Chad Ford:
Breaking: Dante Exum will enter 2014 NBA Draft & hire agent Rob Pelinka. Exum No. 4 on Top 100, No. 1 ranked PG (link coming)— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) January 28, 2014
Exum's decision comes after Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported he met with eight "powerhouse player representation agencies," giving the impression that he intended to enter this year's loaded field. He then hired agents Rob Pelinka and Brandon Rosenthal of Landmark Sports Agency.
"We are excited to be working with Landmark Sports," Exum and his family said in a statement to Ford, adding:
Our family felt The Landmark Team represented our style and manner of treating people, and in doing businesses. We also all shared a common commitment to achieving excellence in all things. The fit is just great and we are really pleased to now begin the work.
I spoke with Dante Exum's father this morning. Dante will enter the NBA draft, choosing agent Rob Pelinka. @chadfordinsider also reported.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) January 28, 2014
The 18-year-old combo guard is widely regarded as a top-five pick in this year's stacked field. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman has him going at No. 4 in his latest mock draft, describing him as an electric talent who will create a lot of mismatches:
He should be the first guard selected this June—you won't find a bigger mismatch at the position anywhere else in the field.
Exum, a 6'6" combo guard with spectacular athleticism, can run the offense at the point or take it over at the 2. He's a dynamite playmaker and scorer. He's one of those unique prospects whose upside is worth the gamble anywhere on the board.
Whether you have a point guard or not, Exum should be a potential target for every team drafting in the top five.
Securing a top-five spot in this summer's field is no easy feat. The 2014 class is being touted as the deepest since 2003, when inevitable superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony made the jump to the NBA, attesting to Exum's value as an athletic scorer who's an equally talented playmaker.
Other top draft prospects include Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas and Jabari Parker of Duke, all of whom are currently projected to be selected ahead of Exum. Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart and Kentucky's Julius Randle are expected to go right after him.
Now that Exum has made his decision official and selected an agent, Woj indicated his next step will include moving to the United States to work on "pre-draft preparation."
Pelinka told Ford:
As the NBA continues to expand its brand around the world, we feel like Dante's international story comes at a perfect time. We also believe that, with continued hard work and focus, Dante is destined to be a "franchise" point guard in this next generation of great NBA players.
It will be a long time before we know if Exum is, in fact, a franchise point guard. For now, all we can do is look ahead to Thursday, June 26, when we'll find out where his NBA journey officially begins.