Last season, No. 1 overall seed Virginia lost to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament. It was the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history.
But don’t let the 2018 NCAA tournament fool you. Once again, Virginia is a top team this season and won’t let history repeat itself.
Meet Ty Jerome: one of UVA’s veteran leaders and one of the smartest players in the country.
In the age of one and done, it feels like Jerome has been at UVA since the Bush Administration. But as it turns out, he’s only a junior.
Who is Ty Jerome?
Ty Jerome is a 6-foot-5 junior guard for the University of Virginia.
Tinder bio: Ty has been experimenting with facial hair, and the jury’s still out on if he can pull it off. He joins Jennifer Lawrence and and Paul Ryan (bye) as part of the notorious “Two First Names” club. He has a brother named Kobe (could work in his favor depending on the crowd).
Big moment: As a sophomore, Jerome was named to the All-ACC Third Team.
The pros and cons of Ty Jerome
The pros: For three seasons, Jerome has played under the watchful eye of UVA coach Tony Bennett—the same clean-shaven mastermind who coached players like Malcolm Brogdon, Klay Thompson, Joe Harris, Mike Scott, and Justin Anderson. And while college coach is no determinant of success in the NBA, elite players under Bennett share a few non-negotiable traits.
1) Bennett’s best can shoot and Jerome follows suit. He boasts NBA range and a quick release that will translate to the NBA. This season, Jerome is shooting 41.3% from beyond the arc.
2) Bennett’s teams always rank at the top of defensive efficiency, and this season is no exception. Once again, Jerome falls in line. He is rangy enough to guard multiple positions and brings a defensive pedigree that’s tough to find in the draft.
3) Jerome is skilled enough to run the point and his passing is better than most combo guards entering the draft—averaging 5.2 assists per game.
The cons: As Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated writes, Jerome “isn’t exactly an eye test player.” He’s right.
Jerome lacks speed. His athleticism is meh, and he’s not going to wow anyone driving to the hoop. But what he lacks in athleticism, he can make up for in decision making.
You might be thinking. Wow, he sounds a lot like Jacob Evans—“Big guard, good shooter, team player.”
Well, no. He’s better at everything. He’s a better passer, a better shooter, has played against better teams in college, and has learned under a better coach.
I’m a believer in Ty Jerome.
Power Rankings: Who should the Warriors draft?
For each draft piece, these rankings will be updated with new additions.
1. Ty Jerome—Virginia, junior, guard
2. Jordan Poole—Michigan, sophomore, guard