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Jerome, Hunter leaving UVA early for NBA Draft

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MARCH 28: Ty Jerome #11 and De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrate after defeating the Oregon Ducks in the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at the KFC YUM! Center on March 28, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Less than 48 hours after thousands of fans celebrated the UVA basketball national championship, the team’s roster started coming apart.

In two separate Instagram posts that were expected but still bittersweet, both De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome announced they are leaving UVA early to enter the NBA draft.

Hunter is a projected lottery pick and is expected to be taken in the top 10 when the NBA draft is held in June. He averaged over 15 points per game this year while being named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year.

View this post on Instagram

Being at the University of Virginia has been an amazing experience. From being a redshirt to winning a national championship, the journey has been unbelievable. I want to say thank you to Coach Bennett and the coaching staff for challenging me everyday to become not only a better basketball player but a better man off the court. I am forever grateful for them. Winning a national championship has always been a dream of mine and accomplishing that with this team is something I will never forget. Thank you to all the fans for your tremendous support. You guys will always be in my heart. My family has always been my backbone. I could never thank them enough for all of the work they have done for me. My mom, brother, and two sisters have always been there for me and without them I would not be the man I am today. I want to Thank God for blessing me with this unique opportunity. Playing NBA was always a lifelong dream, with that being said I would like to announce that I will be entering the NBA draft and signing an agent. UVA will always be a special place to me. Wahoowa! 🧡💙

A post shared by De’Andre Hunter (@drehunter_) on

Hunter scored a career-high 27 points in the title game win over Texas Tech, including the 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime and another that gave the Cavaliers the lead for good in the extra session.

Earlier on Monday, teammate Ty Jerome also announced his plans to leave UVA early for the draft. Jerome was named 2nd team All-ACC this year after averaging over 16 points per game and connecting on 40% of his three-point shots.

View this post on Instagram

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!

A post shared by Ty Jerome (@tyjerome_) on

UVA fans had held out hope that Jerome might stay for his senior season, but he is projected to be a late first-round pick. While Hunter’s future is virtually assured, there is a way Jerome could return to UVA if his draft status doesn’t turn out to be what is expected.

He would need to hire an NCAA certified agent, requests an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee and withdraws from draft consideration by May 29th. After that, he would only be able to return if he attends the NBA combine and goes undrafted.

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