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Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer 7d

Virginia's Hunter, Jerome opting for NBA draft

NBA, NBA Draft, Men's College Basketball, Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia's De'Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome will enter this year's NBA draft, they both announced Monday.

Hunter is likely to be a lottery pick should he keep his name in the draft as expected. The 6-foot-7 redshirt sophomore is ranked as the No. 5 overall player by ESPN and the No. 2 power forward behind only Duke's Zion Williamson. Jerome is ranked No. 29 overall and the No. 8 shooting guard.

"De'Andre and Ty leave Virginia with tremendous legacies," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said in a statement from the school. "They were outstanding players and role models, and I'm so proud of the men they have become. We won a lot of games and championships with De'Andre and Ty, and they are ready to realize their life-long dreams of playing in the NBA."

The two teamed up on one the most memorable plays in the national championship: Jerome penetrated the lane against Texas Tech and found Hunter for a 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime.

"Winning a national championship has always been a dream of mine and accomplishing that with this team is something I will never forget," Hunter wrote on Instagram. "Thank you to all the fans for your tremendous support. You guys will always be in my heart. "

Hunter was the national champions' second-leading scorer, at 15.2 points per game. He was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team selection and the league's defensive player of the year. He shot 52% from the field overall and 43.8% on 3-pointers.

"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," he wrote. "UVA will always be a special place to me. Wahoowa!"

Jerome averaged 16.5 points per game during the NCAA tournament and connected on 40 percent of his 3-point attempts. The 6-foot-5 wing finished with 16 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds in Virginia's 85-77 overtime win against Texas Tech in the title game.

"After talking to my family, coaching staff and thinking about it a lot, I've decided to forego my senior year of college and declare for the 2019 NBA draft," Jerome said in a video. "From day one, I always dreamed about playing at this level since I picked up a basketball, playing in the ACC, playing against Duke and (North) Carolina. This program was everything I could have possibly dreamed of."

Under new rules for potential draftees, both players can still return to school next season as long as they hire an NCAA-certified agent (agents can now pay a player's expenses, such as meals and travel for NBA workouts), request an "evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee" and withdraw by the NCAA's May 29 deadline for early entrants.

If a player decides to remain in the draft beyond that deadline, however, he can return to school only if he has participated in the NBA combine and gone undrafted.

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