After suiting up for 82 games of his rookie season, 21-year-old Dante Exum missed all of last season with a torn ACL in his left knee. It was a gut punch for both the athletic point guard and the Jazz. Exum was supposed to bring on the next phase of the Jazz’s future and help the squad end a four-year postseason drought.
The 6-6 Exum is now fully healthy and ready for the season. He and his team are gearing up for a push to the playoffs and are being heralded as one of the League’s better young teams. But before the grind gets underway, the fifth pick of the ’14 Draft had a chance to hop on sticks and play the new Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare game. The pride of Canberra, Australia was one of the first people to play the new title. We talked to Exum about the game and how his teammates stack up as video game players.
SLAM: You were one of the first people to get to play Infinite Warfare. What were your impressions of the game? What’d you like?
Dante Exum: It was really good. A lot of bad reviews came through and I was a bit nervous to play it, but after playing the game, the movements are really good. I thought the customization was really good. I obviously didn’t get to play all the maps but playing the maps we did get to— and definitely the terminal, from Modern Warfare 2—those were fun.
SLAM: What were you able to customize?
DE: The character classes, I thought that was good. You had two different options. The technology they’ve added to the game, you can see the progression.
SLAM: Is there a specific feature that stood out to you when you were playing?
DE: One thing that I liked that they added to Infinite Warfare was the health bar. It’s little, but kinda underrated. If you’re shooting some guy, you think you killed him, but you see the health bar, that’s big. That’s something that I really liked.
SLAM: What are some of the progressions you’ve seen throughout your time playing Call of Duty?
DE: The biggest one is the movement, being able to move through the map. The jump controls and the boosts. I definitely think Black Ops III, it’s kind of a similar type of movement with the boost. It feels smoother, running on the walls.
SLAM: We talked to Karl-Anthony Towns about his Call of Duty playing style and he called himself Rambo. What’s your playing style like?
DE: I’m pretty much the same. I like to run and gun. I like to play domination. Always wearing a U18. That’s my play style.
SLAM: Have you gotten a chance to play Call of Duty with anyone else in the League?
DE: I’ve played with a couple of guys on my team. They’re not… that good [laughs]. I didn’t play with them that much. I’ve seen Karl play a little bit. I know he did a couple of streams. He was pretty good.
SLAM: Even though they’re not that good, if you could take one teammate on an online Infinite Warfare mission with you, who are you taking?
DE: I heard someone say that George Hill’s pretty good at Call of Duty. I haven’t talked to him about, but from what I know, I’d probably rather run it solo. They’d hold me back [laughs].
SLAM: So you guys play different games when you’re all together?
DE: Everybody likes to play FIFA and we’re heavy into 2K, as well. But I’m not much of a sports game-player. I play a lot of Destiny with Rudy [Gobert], Elder Scrolls with Rudy and Raul [Neto.] That’s what I’m into. Anything first person shooter, I’ll play.
SLAM: You and Rudy were playing 2K a couple weeks back on the Jazz’s snapchat account. Who won that game?
DE: Rudy won that game. But he was playing as the Jazz so I kinda had to let him win [laughs].
SLAM: We talked to Derrick Favors a week back and we asked him about who was the funniest, weirdest guy on the team and he mentioned Rudy. You agree with that?
DE: I wouldn’t say Rudy’s funny. I’d give him the weird part. Rudy tries to be funny, but… [laughs].
SLAM: You’re good to go for this season, feeling good?
DE: Yeah, played the first preseason game. It was good to get back on the court, get back to the film room and see where I’m at.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is available now for those who pre-ordered the game. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered combine in one package which launches worldwide November 4th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.