Virginia guard Jerome opting for NBA draft

Virginia star Ty Jerome, a key contributor to his team’s national championship run this season, will hire an agent and enter the NBA draft, per his Instagram page.

“After talking to my family, coaching staff and thinking about it a lot, I’ve decided to forgo my senior year of college and declare for the 2019 NBA draft,” Jerome said in the video. “From Day 1, I always dreamed about playing at this level since I picked up a basketball, playing in the ACC, playing against Duke and [North] Carolina. This program was everything I could have possibly dreamed of.”

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The last three years at Virginia have been everything I could have dreamed of in a college experience. When Coach Bennett recruited me he said he would never stop challenging me to improve, on and off the court – and he meant it. He did that every single day, and he made me a better basketball player and better man. I am eternally grateful to him and the entire coaching staff, and fans. I also want to give a special thank you to our strength coach, coach Curtis and our athletic trainer, Ethan Saliba; the best in the business! I came to Virginia to win a national championship and to be able to do that with my brothers is a dream come true. And to the best fans in college basketball – we would not have done it without you. Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my mom, dad, brother and entire family. The time, effort and love they have given me is truly a gift, and I would not have had this opportunity without them. I have had a ball in my hand basically since the day I was born. My dream has always been to play in the NBA. Therefore, after speaking with my family and coaches and giving it a lot of thought, I know it’s the right time to announce that I will be entering the NBA draft and signing with an agent. I will forever be a wahoo🧡 UVA, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

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During the NCAA tournament, Jerome averaged 16.5 points per game and connected on 40 percent of his 3-point attempts. He’s projected to be the 30th pick in’s latest NBA mock draft.

The 6-foot-5 wing finished with 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds in Virginia’s 85-77 overtime win against Texas Tech in last week’s national title game.

Under new rules for potential draftees, Jerome can still return to school next season as long as he hires an NCAA-certified agent (agents can now pay a player’s expenses, such as meals and travel for NBA workouts), requests an “evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee” and withdraws by the NCAA’s May 29 deadline for early entrants. If a player decides to remain in the draft beyond that deadline, however, he can return to school only if he has participated in the NBA combine and gone undrafted.

But all signs point to Jerome remaining in the draft.

“He’s gone,” said one source close to the program.

Virginia’s Tony Bennett is expected to release a statement about the junior’s departure on Monday.

“Thank you to Coach Bennett,” Jerome said in the video. “Thank you to all my amazing teammates. Thank you to my family. And thank you, fans. I will always be a Wahoo.”

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