Virginia's Hunter, Jerome opting for NBA draft

Hunter scores career-high 26 in win vs. Louisville (1:30)

De'Andre Hunter scores 19 of his career-best 26 points in the second half as Virginia rallies for a 64-52 win over Louisville. (1:30)

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.