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2018 Virginia Basketball Player Profiles: Ty Jerome

The third year guard is poised for a huge season in Charlottesville.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we took an in-depth look at De’Andre Hunter and his importance to the Cavaliers. Today, with 11 days until the Virginia Basketball season begins, we are talking about third year guard Ty Jerome.

Jerome was third on the team last season with 10.6 points per game, and tied for first in ACC play with 12.4 points per game. He shot 42% from the field and 38% from three, and his 91% (38-for-42) mark from the free throw line was the best on the team and would have been best in the league if he’d had enough attempts to qualify.

Last season, Jerome was named to All-ACC Third Team. This past week, ACC Media voted Jerome to the second team preseason All-ACC Second Team, and he received two votes for preseason ACC Player of the Year (one of which was my vote).

Teammate Kyle Guy didn’t mince words when it came to talking about his fellow backcourt member at media day, saying:

“He’s probably the best leader that I’ve -- one of the best leaders in terms of vocalizing and communication. Sometimes he likes to talk a lot and doesn’t really say much, but he’s, you know, tremendous to be in the backcourt with. You know, we can finish each other’s sentences when we’re on the court together and I think that’s big that we have that chemistry. You know, he’s probably one of the best point guards in the country.”

In the offseason, Jerome was invited to and attended the CP3 Elite Guard Camp hosted by NBA star Chris Paul. He excelled on both sides of the ball, earning praise for his communication, leadership, and shooting prowess. ESPN’s Mike Schmitz said, “...Jerome shined as the best pure basketball player at the camp.”

According to an interview done with VirginiaSports.com’s Jeff White, Jerome has spent time this summer putting up tons of shots and working with Mike Curtis to get stronger. With Devon Hall graduated, this team is now Jerome’s. He will be expected to take on the majority of the ball-handling duties, and he’s poised to have a breakout season for the Hoos.

Minus something entirely unforeseen, Jerome will start for the second straight season. He averaged just shy of 31 minutes per game, and most likely he will see about the same (if not more) again. Jerome had a team-high 132 assists last year, and dished four or more assists in 17 of the games last season. His 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio was solid, but he had eight games with three or more turnovers.

It feels like Jerome is about to have a monster year, and the Hoos are going to be that much better for it.

Strengths

There are many things that Ty Jerome does well. He’s a good shooter, is incredibly competitive, and uses his length and size on both ends of the court. Defensively, he’s improved dramatically and his 3.5% steal percentage last season was 54th best in the nation. Even in raw numbers (which us UVA fans hate), his 1.6 steals per game last season were 7th best in the ACC.

What he does best, however, is something that is incredibly difficult to teach. Jerome is a natural leader, both on the court and off. He’s certainly confident and wanders into cocky at times, but he’s never arrogant. Jerome plays with fire and that never-quit attitude has benefitted Virginia greatly. Against Louisville on the road, No. 1 Virginia was down 12 points with 10 minutes to play in the second half. In the final 9:52 of the game, Jerome scored 18 of his 21 points as he shot 5-for-7 from the field, 2-for-2 from three, and converted 6-of-7 free throws. His quick thinking on the final shot attempt with 0.9 remaining drew the foul that sent him to the line for three and put the improbable comeback just a little more in reach.

He has an innate sense of the game, and communicates well. “When we played five-on-five,” Jerome told White of his time at the CP3 Elite Guard Camp. “I figured the things that would separate me would be talking the whole time, talking on defense, just being the leader I am, and naturally that just kind of got me in a rhythm. That carried over to offense. That carried over to making shots. I just made sure I focused on guarding the ball and doing the things that everyone else didn’t want to do first.”

Weaknesses

Jerome’s athleticism always seems to be his biggest hit. Prior to showing up as Virginia, Jerome had to cut his senior season short for hip surgery. His lateral movement and speed took a while to improve, but he seemed more comfortable last season. Not every move he makes seems the smoothest, and he won’t be beating Bryce Hall in a sprinting contest any time soon, but it’s less of an issue than it was two years ago.

I’d like to see him take the ball to the hoop with more authority and draw more fouls, especially given his stellar percentage at the line.

Also, according to Virginia’s first practice video of the season, he can dunk now (1:17 mark of the video).

Best 2017-18 Game

Jerome’s 31-point performance against Boston College is getting the nod, but this one was tough. Before I get into why his game against BC was his best, I want to reiterate how incredibly important Ty Jerome was in the comeback win at Louisville. Although De’Andre Hunter will get (and rightfully so) a lot of attention for making the game winning shot, it was Jerome’s performance down the stretch that allowed the Hoos to even be in that position.

That said, Jerome was unconscious in Virginia’s ACC opener, almost single-handedly willing the Cavaliers to a win behind 11-for-17 shooting (65%). Jerome shot a nice 6-for-9 from beyond the arc (67%), went a perfect 3-for-3 from the line, and added five rebounds and two steals in the

Best 2017-18 Play

YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS GOING TO BE. I will always forever and ever post this clip any time I have an opportunity to. This clip is amazing for so many reasons. First of all, it’s a huge bucket at a huge moment. This shot put the Hoos ahead by five with 35 seconds left on the road. Second of all, HE FAKED THE DEFENDER WITH A PASS TO THE SCORER’S TABLE. The—excuse my French—ballsiness of that move will never cease to amaze me. Third of all, the coolness with which he pulled all of it off is just beautiful.

Watching this forever and ever, amen.

The Stats

Height: 6-5

Weight: 195

Year: Junior

2017-18 PPG: 10.6

2017-18 RPG: 3.1

Instagram: tyjerome_