Jerome, who honed his craft as a star at Iona Prep in New Rochelle and cut down the nets after winning the NCAA Tournament with Virginia last month, has announced he’s leaving the University of Virginia and has declared for the NBA Draft.
Jerome was a key contributor in throughout the NCAA Tournament, and starred in the Final against Texas Tech, finishing with 16 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. Similar to the Cavaliers’ unlikely Final Four win over Auburn to make it to the final, Jerome was key in assisting on one of the final plays in regulation to help his team tie the game with seconds left on the clock.
Jerome, who scored in double-figures in all six of the Cavaliers’ NCAA tournament games, announced his decision to forgo his senior season in an Instagram post on Monday morning.
"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 a video posted on Instagram. "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.”
According to ESPN’s “Best Available List,” Jerome is ranked as the 30th best player in the country and eighth-best point guard, making him a likely candidate to be a late first-round or early second-round pick. His performance in the National Championship may have bolstered his already impressive resume even further.
"He's gone," said one source close to the program, ESPN reported.
“The last three years at Virginia have been everything I could have dreamed of in a college experience,” Jerome wrote. “When Coach (Tony) 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 (Mike) 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.”
The 6-foot-5 point guard enjoyed a stellar regular season, starting each game for the Cavaliers, leading the team in assists (130), free throw percentage (.902 percent), and played the third most minutes for Virginia, behind standouts Kyle Guy and Devon Hall. Jerome was also named the ACC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week in January after he scored a career-high 31 points in a one-point win over Boston College.
“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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