Dante Exum won’t have to wait long to show former Australian coach Brett Brown and his Philadelphia 76ers what they missed out on.
Exum’s Utah Jazz will play the 76ers in their opening NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas in less than a fortnight.
The 76ers passed on Exum with the third pick at last week’s NBA Draft, but the Jazz snapped him up with the fifth selection.
“People obviously haven’t seen me play a lot,” Exum told reporters in Utah.
“But when I step on the court at Summer League, I’m just going to play hard and show them the Australian type of basketball that we like to play.”
The 18-year-old from Melbourne was expected to be picked up by the 76ers.
US-born Brown, who coached in the NBL before moving back to the US where he was an assistant at the San Antonio Spurs and then last year was named as head coach of the 76ers, had identified Exum’s talent when he was 15 and invited him to a Boomers training camp.
The 76ers selected injury-prone 213cm University of Kansas centre Joel Embiid with their third pick.
Exum has been welcomed in his new home of Salt Lake City, charming local reporters with tales of Australia, Vegemite and clearing up a few misconceptions.
“We don’t put shrimp on the barbie,” Exum said.
Exum will see plenty of Australia’s other NBA rookie, Brisbane power forward Cameron Bairstow, who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls will play the Los Angeles Clippers on July 12, with Exum’s Jazz taking on the 76ers in the game immediately after.
Summer League is a tournament allowing NBA teams to play their draftees, free agents and contracted benchwarmers.
Last year Matthew Dellavedova was snubbed at the draft, but scored a spot on the Cleveland Summer League roster and was so impressive he secured a contract with the Cavaliers.