UVA guard Ty Jerome headed to Phoenix: Taken 24th in first round of 2019 NBA Draft
Jerome was the second member of the national-champion Cavaliers squad taken in the first round of the draft. De’Andre Hunter was taken fourth by Atlanta.
Jerome averaged 13.6 points and 5.5 assists per game for Virginia in 2018-2019, and his 3.31 assist-to-turnover ratio was fifth in the nation.
The 6’5″ guard was at his best in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, averaging 16.5 points and 6.0 assists per game, scoring in double-digits in all six of Virginia’s tourney games, including a 24-point effort against Purdue in the Elite Eight and a team-high 21 against Auburn in the Final Four.
In the championship-game win over Texas Tech, Jerome recorded 16 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
Jerome will head to Phoenix with the expectation that he will compete for the starting point-guard job. Incumbent starter Tyler Johnson, a four-year pro, averaged 11.1 points and 4.2 assists per game in 2018-2019, shooting 36.8 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from three-point range.
The Suns roster features last season’s No. 1 pick, 7’1″ center Deandre Ayton, who averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game as a rookie in 2018-2019.
The offense is built around shooting guard Devin Booker, who poured in 26.6 points per game this past season.
Forwards T.J. Warren (18.0 ppg) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (16.9 ppg) add firepower, and the Suns also added UNC shooting guard Cameron Johnson, taking the 6’9″ shooter with the 11th pick in the first round.
The talent seems to be in place for the eternally-rebuilding franchise, which has posted just one winning season since its last playoff appearance in 2009-2010.
According to RealGM.com, the No. 24 pick is slotted for a first-year salary of $1.83 million, with raises to $1.92 million in Year 2 and $2.01 million in Year 3, with a fourth-year option at $3.51 million.
Story by Chris Graham