Coming into the 2015 season, we knew Ty Jerome was going to be a difference-maker for the PSA Cardinals.
We didn't know just how big of a difference he would make.
Through 11 games, the PSA Cardinals junior has the EYBL's top offensive efficiency rating at 142.9 (per Group Stats). He is rather unassuming in physical stature, but Jerome's basketball IQ and on-court savvy have helped him become an elite point guard on grassroots basketball's biggest stage.
Jerome is committed to Virginia, and Tony Bennett and company must be salivating to ge their future point guard on campus. D1's Alec Kinsky sat down with Jerome in Houston, delving into a variety of topics with one the EYBL's best guards.
Alec Kinsky: Another strong session for you. How has the EYBL experience been for you so far, specifically in Houston?
Ty Jerome: Houston experience was a really good stop. Our goal was 4-0.We beat a really good team in Pro Skills, then another win against Boo Williams. We came up short against Athletes First. But we bounced back and got a really good win that we needed Sunday to go 3-1. Now we’re just looking forward to the next session.
Alec Kinsky: Talk about your role on the team. You’re the point guard, the leader, you control the game. Has it been an easy transition into the PSA program?
Ty Jerome: I think it has been, mainly because of our team chemistry and coaching staff. We just play together, we’re really like a family on and off the court.
Alec Kinsky: How has it been learning under Munch? They have a strong program, was that something that caught your eye when you were looking where to play?
Ty Jerome: Yeah, definitely. If there are other coaches that do what Munch, Mark Carter and Dre do, I’d be really surprised. We eat right. We get scouting reports before every game. We take it really, really seriously. We have really intense practices, everything is intense.
Alec Kinsky: What do you feel you do best on the court right now?
Ty Jerome: I think definitely my feel for the game. My IQ and court vision. I also pride myself on being a really good shooter. Those aspects I’d say are the strongest part of my game.
Alec Kinsky: You have one of the best efficiency ratings in the EYBL. Is that something you pride yourself on, making plays without turning the ball over?
Ty Jerome: Yeah, definitely. I mean, the less turnovers you have, the more plays you make, and gives us a greater opportunity to score. We’re efficient.
Alec Kinsky: You’re committed to Virginia. What factored into that decision? They have to be excited to have you.
Ty Jerome: Definitely the coaching staff. I mean, I don’t think I was going to find a better coach for me than Coach Bennett. He recruits guys that have a really good feel for the game, can shoot the ball well. He teaches you how to play defense, and I think that’s awesome. Also, he was the first high-major coach to believe I could play at that level.
Alec Kinsky: That’s big time. You get excited watching them this year?
Ty Jerome: Absolutely. I was hoping they’d go to the Final Four, but they still had an amazing season.
Alec Kinsky: That’s big time. It has to be exciting committing to a program that is coming into their own under Coach Bennett.
Ty Jerome: Every year they’ve gotten so much better. First year he was there, I think they were under .500, and they slowly kept getting better and better. Now they’re one of the best teams in the country under him.
Alec Kinsky: What about your teammates? does playing alongside Omari and Kassoum open the floor up for you?
Ty Jerome: Yeah, I mean every game he’s a threat to have 20 and 20. And you’ve got Kassoum (Yawke) who makes defense a lot easier. You force guards in and he blocks at least 4 or 5 shots a games. Playing alongside Bryce (Aiken) is really fun too too, because he gives me the opportunity to play on and off the ball. We have a really complete team.
Alec Kinsky: Do you have any goals coming up? That applies for EYBL and high school.
Ty Jerome: I think the goal for EYBL is really simple. We need to win Peach Jam. That’s our goal. Not that anything less would be a failure, but that’s definitely our goal. We feel we can do it. We have a really balanced team. High school goals, I want to win a city and hopefully a state championship. We came up a little short this year.
Alec Kinsky: On or off the court, who’s been your biggest influence in life?
Ty Jerome: I’d have to say my parents. My dad has been working me since I was 4, 5 6 years old. We’d just shoot and watch a lot of film together, break down games. My mom would just drive me anywhere. An hour, two hours for a workout. Anywhere I needed to be. That was so helpful.
Alec Kinsky; When did you realize basketball would be an avenue of success for you?
Ty Jerome: I’ve loved basketball since I was young. Since second grade I would play nonstop. I think around 7th grade I stopped playing other sports and just focused on basketball. I was in the gym all the time.
Alec Kinsky: Academics wise going into Virgina, do you know what you want to study yet?
Ty Jerome: Not yet. I think I want to study media communications, but I’m not sure yet.