Jerome's back to his ways after back injury

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The first time Virginia matched up against Louisville this season, junior Ty Jerome was still dealing with a back injury, which lead to a rough game from the field.

“After I shot so badly at their place, I was really excited to play them again," Jerome said, who went 2-12 at Louisville.

Jerome more than made up for it Saturday, leading the Cavaliers with 24 points and going 8-14 from the field. A big reason Jerome says is he is no longer limited by his back.

"My back's been getting better and I'm pretty much 100 percent now," Jerome said, "So I'm able to workout after practice in the morning now, so I'm not really on a restriction at practice."

Whether it was leading the offense or his effort on defense, his coach said Jerome's game was "complete."

"He's such a competitor," Coach Tony Bennett said, "I think the crowd gave him some extra juice and I think he is getting healthier with his back and we needed it all, that pull up he hit and some of the passes."

One aspect of Jerome's game that continues to take off is his passing. The junior guard currently leads the ACC with 5.3 assists per game and chipped in six assists on Saturday along with just one turnover.

"Easily one of the best passers, I've ever played with," junior guard Kyle Guy said, "So just really happy with the way he conducts himself and the way he tries to get everybody involved is really important."

One unavoidable question for Jerome was how he is dealing with the noise around possibly leaving early for the NBA. According to ESPN's NBA Draft Big Board, Jerome ranks 34th out of possible prospects for the 2019 NBA Draft.

"I just try to block it out," Jerome said, "Coach Bennett always says tomorrow has enough problems just focus on today and never surrender the little things."

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