Ty Jerome is ending his career at Virginia on top.
"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!"
Jerome averaged 13.6 points, 5.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds during his junior season, helping lead Virginia to its first national championship in program history. He's considered a borderline first-round pick, with ESPN ranking him No. 29 in their top 100.
It's expected that Jerome will be joined by teammate De'Andre Hunter in declaring early. Hunter's considered a top-10 lock and potential top-five selection. Final Four Most Outstanding Player Kyle Guy is not viewed as an NBA prospect and is expected to return to school, though he could enter his name and test the draft waters.
Jerome will be attractive to playoff teams in the late first round because of his ability to stretch the floor and find open guys as a secondary ball-handler. His athleticism won't hold up enough to make him someone who can handle the ball primarily, but he functions exceedingly well within a system and can make shots off the bounce.
Teams like the Warriors, Spurs and Bucks would do well to take a long look at Jerome because he's a natural fit for their offensive systems.