Today I caught up with Dante Exum for a chat before the Australian Boomers flew out to Europe to begin their preparation for the World Cup.
We spoke about a number of topics including what he’s expecting from the World Cup, his adjustments over the last few months in playing more off the ball, playing with potential Jazz team-mate Brock Motum, rookie hazing & more.
More from this interview plus my chat with Matthew Dellavedova will appear in the next podcast.
Check it out!
So Dante, you finished up training camp a week ago. You’ve had a week to relax & get some downtime in Melbourne. How was that break because it’s been a pretty hectic few months for you?
Yeah it was a good break & it was the first time I’ve been back in Melbourne for a while so I just wanted to chill with the family, see a couple of friends & take a break from basketball before I head into the World Championships & then the long season next year.
At camp, it had been 12 months since you were last with the Boomers program for the Oceania Championships, were you surprised with how much your game had improved bench marked against the other guys in the camp over the period?
Yeah I think the main thing was just bringing back a lot of confidence. I wasn’t going into the camp scared or thinking I couldn’t run with these guys. That was one thing I wanted to go in there with, knowing what I could do & just having the confidence to go out & do it.
You’re playing off the ball more now. Obviously you’re a point guard but in the Boomers & Jazz systems there are going to be times you’re playing off the ball. One thing I noticed in Summer League was you’re more comfortable doing that now in comparison to in the past… Is that something you’ve been working on over the last few months?
Yeah it’s all about being adaptable. That’s what i’ve tried to take into my game. I try to get back on the ball as much as possible when I can. But you know, I can’t go into an NBA team & kind of demand to do what I want. So, it’s just a process of trying to start to slowly get the ball & earn the trust of the guys.
How’s it been working alongside Matthew Dellavedova? Obviously you guys are going to be forming a pretty solid back-court combination for the next few years…
Yeah, Delly & I have been good. During the training camp it was the same thing as what it was with the Utah Jazz. Whoever could take the ball, took the ball… Joe Ingles is taking the ball whenever he can & so it didn’t really matter between us.
Is the system you’ve got here pretty similar to Utah? Is there anything you’re going to be take back from this World Cup experience & implement it in your game for the Jazz?
It’s definitely a very similar system. I’m getting to play a little bit more in it & definitley this tournament is going to give me a good opportunity to go back to Utah & already be placed in this type of system, know the in’s & out’s & what I can do to succeed.
Brock Motum’s going to be coming back to training camp with you in Utah. How have you seen his improvement over the last few months from getting the last spot on the Summer League roster to getting a training camp invite & getting one of the last spots on the Boomers roster… Have you been surpised with what he’s been able to bring to the table?
Yeah definitely. He came into the training camp & I hadn’t met him before. He did really well & then obviously had a very good Summer League. I’d love to have another Aussie there & through the Boomers program I’ve got to know him a bit more so I’d love to have him in Utah.
You’re the youngest member on the Jazz team… Are we going to see any hazing this year?
Ah, well… the oldest guy’s only like 24. Well… there’s older, but Gordon Hayward’s the elder veteran of the Utah Jazz so, I guess i’ve got to wait for that but hopefully not.
What about on the Boomers here? Youngest guy on tour?
Ah, well… They try… I don’t let them bully me around or anything… They’re pretty good guys, it’s only really like ‘take this bag’. As once as I get my first major tournament out of the way, i’m out of the rookie phase.
As a team, the goal is to win a medal… What about personally? What do you want to achieve during the World Cup?
I just want to go in, have a good tournament & be able to be a lock-down defender… That’s the main thing.
Thanks for your time Dante, appreciate it!