A Changing Of The (Point) Guard?

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PerrantesJerome
London Perrantes and Ty Jerome shake hands as Perrantes exits the court in his last game at John Paul Jones Arena. ~ Photo by Matt Riley of Virginia Athletics

With 1:57 remaining in Virginia’s 67-42 win over Pittsburgh, senior point guard London Perrantes checked out of the final home game of his storied Cavalier career. His sub? Freshman Ty Jerome, who figures to be Perrantes’ heir apparent at the point guard position in the years to come.

Perrantes embraced the freshman before waving to the cheering home fans and heading to the bench, where he hugged head coach Tony Bennett, UVA assistant coaches, and teammates. His message to the New Rochelle (N.Y.) freshman?

“I said, ‘It’s not yours yet. It’s not your program yet. I still got some games left to play,’” Perrantes said with a smile and a laugh.

Its perhaps fitting that Perrantes and Jerome led the Hoos in points and assists against the Panthers. The senior went out in style, scoring 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting while dishing out three assists in 34 minutes. The 6’5” freshman had 13 points and three assists, the last of which went to Perrantes for a 3-pointer.

“As Ty passed me the ball and I shot it, I thought, ‘This is weird. I guess it’s my time to go now,” Perrantes joked.

Perrantes, whose start Saturday afternoon was the 130th of his UVA career, has helped the Cavalier program to 106 wins. Jerome has played in all 21 of Virginia’s wins this season but has truly emerged in the past 12 games, averaging 19 minutes per game in that span. He has started in each of Virginia’s past three games, all wins.

Jerome has played a significant role on big stages, including a win at Notre Dame (8 points), a last second loss at Villanova (15 points including a game-tying bucket in the last minute), and a home loss against Duke (13 point). He also had 5 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals one week ago at NC State, helping the Cavaliers snap a 4-game losing streak in the process.

“He’s coming into his own,” Perrantes said of Jerome. “It’s good to see for him to grow over this year, the only year I have with him. His confidence is through the roof right now. And we need it now. We’re definitely going to need it next year and the years to come. I just told him we’ve got a couple of games left and then I’m going to hand you the keys as well. The same thing Coach Bennett did. I think he’s ready.”

Another Bennett point guard protégé agrees.

Jerome may well take up the mantle from Perrantes. For now, though, his mindset is the same as UVA’s senior leader.

“I am going to miss [Perrantes], but we still have more basketball to play,” Jerome said.

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