Jerome announces he'll enter NBA Draft

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Ty Jerome is ending his Virginia men's basketball career on the highest note possible.

A week after helping the Cavaliers win the first NCAA title in program history, Jerome has announced that he will forgo his senior season at UVA and enter the NBA Draft.

"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," Jerome said in a statement posted Monday morning on his Instagram account. "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."

The most recent mock drafts on both ESPN.com and CBSSports.com project Jerome as a late first round selection.

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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!

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A 6-5 guard, Jerome averaged 13.6 in 37 starts for the Wahoos this season. His 202 assists and 57 steals both led UVA. 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.

Jerome averaged 16.5 points in the Cavaliers' six NCAA Tournament games, including 24 in UVA's overtime win against Purdue in the Elite Eight, 21 in the team's Final Four victory against Auburn, and 16 against Texas Tech in the national championship game.