NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- When New Rochelle’s Ty Jerome stepped on to the basketball court for the University of Virginia in last Friday’s season-opener, it was his first official contest in nearly a year.
More of them are on the way, however, for the freshman. A lot more.
Jerome made his debut with the Cavaliers in Friday’s game against North Carolina-Greensboro. He played nine minutes and scored two points in Virginia's 76-51 rout.
More significant minutes are undoubtedly ahead for Jerome, a 6-foot, 5-inch guard, who is projected to be the point guard of the future at Virginia. He will spend much of his first year playing behind senior starter London Perrantes, who started 35 games last season.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett said in a story on www.dailyprogress.com that Jerome compares to Perrantes at similar points during their careers. “He has a similar kind of feel with the ball (as Perrantes) in how he sees things, how the game slows down, his ability to pass, and just understand,’’ Bennett said. “He absolutely has shown that a lot of times and that’s exciting because he has good size and that would be his strength.”
Jerome’s final season at Iona Prep was cut short by surgery in mid January. He averaged 24.7 points, 8.0 rebounds 5.0 assists before surgery to repair a torn labrum and misshaped ball socket ended his season. He also had a similar surgery on his left hip.
“I wouldn’t say he’s 100 percent now, but he’s up there,’’ said Vic Quirolo, Jerome’s coach at Iona Prep.
Jerome, who committed to Virginia as a junior, got his first taste of college basketball during a team trip to Spain. He also played in the team’s scrimmage last month.
“I just want to do anything I can to help the team win this year and to pick up the great tradition that last year’s seniors left for us,” Jerome said in the Daily Progress story. “I will help any way I can, get a steal, or just be in the gap and play defense, hit an open shot, anything to win.”
Quirolo expects Jerome will distinguish himself when he gets his opportunities. “It’s a top-notch program and they’re very talented players,’’ Quirolo said. “I think Ty can compete with anybody. I think he’ll go in there and have a productive career.”
Among the games that will attract Quirolo’s interest, along with other Iona Prep and Westchester County basketball fans, is Virginia’s contest on Jan. 24, 2017 at Notre Dame. Former Iona Prep star Matt Ryan plays for the Irish.
Jerome averaged seven points as a freshman and 12 points and three assists per game as a sophomore. He blossomed as a junior, averaging 20.0 points, six rebounds and four assists and earned first team All-State honors. He was also named the Westchester Player of the Year and first team All-Metropolitan and team MVP.
“He’s extremely versatile,’’ Quirolo said. “He can shoot well, he has great court vision and he’s one of those high energy guys that makes other people better. He helps the team in so many ways.”
Jerome is part of a highly-touted recruiting class that includes Kyle Guy, De’Andre Hunter and Jay Huff. It was ranked the second best recruiting class in the ACC and eighth in the nation. With the season under way, it’s now up to Jerome and the other freshman to demonstrate to Bennett and others that they have the talent to play in the ACC.
“We're going to see some of these young guys grow up before our very eyes, over the course of their careers,’’ Bennett said at the team’s Media Day in October. “But in the immediate and now, there's some big questions to be answered."
Click here to visit the Virginia men’s basketball website.
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