Virginia's Jerome: "It Still Doesn't Feel Real Yet"

Ty Jerome and the Virginia Cavaliers haven't come down from the high of winning the national championship

Tiki and Tierney
April 10, 2019 - 4:34 pm
Ty Jerome Virginia Texas Tech National Championship

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One year after becoming the first No. 1 seed to ever lose to a 16, Virginia opened the NCAA Tournament against Gardner-Webb – and trailed by 14 points in the first half.

Disaster, however, was avoided – and defensive dominance followed. Yes, from the overtime win against Purdue to the one-point win over Auburn to the overtime win over Texas Tech, Virginia’s run to the national title feels like something out of Hollywood.

For analysts, for fans, and – yes – for players.

“Honestly, it still doesn’t feel real yet,” Virginia guard Ty Jerome said on Tiki & Tierney. “We celebrated a little bit last night as a team, and it’s unreal. To think we were down by 14 points to Gardner-Webb and we were facing another situation like last year – and then to rally back and win the whole thing is unbelievable.”

Virginia needed seemingly miraculous plays in each of its last three games, from Mamadi Diakite’s buzzer-beater against Purdue to Kyle Guy’s three free throws against Auburn, to De’Andre Hunter’s game-tying three against Texas Tech.

How did the Cavaliers come through in the clutch every single time?

“I think it’s just how much belief we have in each other,” Jerome said. “You look around and everyone believes in each other, and that just gives everyone confidence to take a big shot or really buckle down at the end of the game and try to get a stop. We don’t put any pressure on ourselves, and coach does a great job of instilling confidence in us. He prepares us for all those late-game situations.”

Jerome had 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds in the national championship. He, Hunter (27), and Guy (24) combined to score 67 of Virginia’s 85 points.

In the end, Virginia reached the first Final Four in program history, won the first national title in program history, and set a school record for wins (35).

“We actually had higher expectations for ourselves coming into this year than the previous year,” Jerome said. “I think we knew what we were returning. We knew how good we could be.”

Click below to listen to Jerome’s interview in its entirety.