Last season, University of Virginia’s point guard Ty Jerome earned third-team All-ACC honors as a sophomore after he helped lead Virginia to a school-record 31-3 record, an ACC title and it’s first No. 1 ranking since 1982. After this impressive feat,, he was one of 20 players recently named to the watch list for the 2019 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, which is presented to college basketball’s top player at the position. But while Jerome is at the top of his game now, his journey to get there was a long one, full of highs and lows.
“It was a crazy long journey to get to the position I am now. It really has been and always will be countless hours in the gym and many more hours taking care of my body,” Jerome tells The Zone in an exclusive interview.” My lowest moment was when I got Double Hip Surgery during my senior year of high school. That was easily my lowest moment because the game was taken away from me for 7 months. Basketball is my escape from the world. Basketball is my love, and my passion. When I can’t play basketball and compete, I’m not the same person I am. I don’t know what I would do without basketball and during those 7 months, I was lost. I was able to persevere my setting constant goals during rehab, watching a ton of film, and spending a ton of time with my family.
My highest moment would be a summary of this last year. As a kid, I dreamed of playing college basketball at the highest level. This year, I played for the number 1 team in the country. I lived out a childhood dream. We won the ACC regular season and tournament championship (in New York, my hometown). After the season I received an invite to Chris Paul camp for the top 20 guards in college basketball and had a good showing at camp. This past year has been great. I deal with it by remaining humble and always working. It’s easy to be humble and constantly work because I’m not where I want to be yet and I know how much I have to improve.”
“The pivotal moment for me was probably when we (New Heights) won the 16u Under Armor Nationals. That was really my breakout summer. A few weeks later I committed to the University of Virginia and I went into my junior year with my confidence at an all time high. My junior year I continued on the track and had my best summer yet for the PSA Cardinals.”
And while this pivotal moment helped switch momentum between the highs and lows of his career, Jerome, a big family person, credits much of his success to the love and support of his family.
“My family has impacted my life more than words can describe. I wouldn’t be even close to the position I’m in today without the help, love and support of my family,” Jerome says. “My entire family is always there for me and has always been there for me through the ups and downs of this long journey. They’ve constantly sacrificed their time, energy, and money to put me in the best position I am to succeed. I am forever grateful for my family.”
With the support of his family, and some core values, Ty Jerome plans on continuing to play the game of basketball that he loves so much and use it to give back to those that support him and future generations.
“I know for sure right now …that I love basketball and want to play it for as long as I possibly can, I want to always remain close with my family and close friends, I want to give back to all of the people that invested in me, and I really want to invest in the next generation when it’s all said and done.”
As for some words of advice, Ty Jerome encourages kids to be their own selves and find their confidence.
“The biggest value that I live by is to be myself. In today’s society, people are so worried about impressing their peers on social media, and trying to be something their not. I just try to always stay true to who I am, and be extremely confident in who I am. That value applies to life on and off of the basketball court.”
“The biggest thing is confidence. The problem is, most kids don’t understand what true confidence is and where confidence is developed. True confidence is not looking to your right or left but just knowing how good you are while understanding you always have to improve. Confidence comes from hours and hours of repetition and breakdowns because when that breakthrough finally happens you won’t look back.”