In two separate Instagram posts that were expected but still bittersweet, both De'Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome announced they are leaving UVA early to enter the National Basketball Association draft. While Hunter's future is virtually assured, there is a way Jerome could return to UVA if his draft status doesn't turn out to be what is expected. Jerome is ranked No. 29 overall and the No. 8 shooting guard.
"My dream has always been to play in the NBA", Jerome wrote. He shot 43.5 percent from the floor, including 39.9 percent from beyond the 3-point line, and his 79 3-pointers were second on the team. And to the best fans in college basketball - we would not have done it without you. You guys will always be in my heart.
"The 6'7" redshirt sophomore capped off a solid sophomore campaign with the best performance of his collegiate career in Virginia's first national championship win in program history-leading the Cavaliers as they completed their redemption run and avenged their infamous first-round loss, which Hunter missed with a broken wrist in the ACC 2018 tournament. "My dream has always been to play in the NBA", Jerome said in a statement posted Monday morning on his Instagram account. "UVA will always be a special place to me".
Hunter's was also one of the team's best defenders, taking home ACC Defensive Player of the Year and NABC Defensive Player of the Year honors in addition to an Associated Press All-America Third Team nod.
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Jerome, a projected late first-round pick, averaged 13.6 points, 5.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Cavaliers this season. He says he made the decision after talking with his family and the Virginia coaching staff. I have had a ball in my hand basically since the day I was born.
Under new rules for potential draftees, both players can still return to school next season as long as they hire an NCAA-certified agent (agents can now pay a player's expenses, such as meals and travel for NBA workouts), request an "evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee" and withdraw 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 National Basketball Association combine and gone undrafted.