When New York guard Ty Jerome arrived in Charlottesville this weekend, it was pretty clear to him that he had found the right fit. The more he learned, the more real it became.
Though he vowed to give himself time away from the visit to decided, by Tuesday afternoon he couldn't wait any longer before committing to head coach Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers.
"It was terrific," the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Jerome told CavsCorner. "I couldn't be more excited. It was the absolute perfect place for me and I'm so excited to be a part of what's going on at UVa. I'm so excited to get to get to work so I can be ready.
"When I went in," he added, "I knew Coach Bennett had made me a priority but it was the confidence he had in me and how they showed me exactly how I would fit that really convinced me."
Jerome, who had offers from 10 other programs, raved about the trip and the aspects of Virginia's program that he saw.
"As soon as I stepped foot into that facility, I knew it was a special place," the New Rochelle (NY) Iona Prep standout recalled. "The arena is unreal and thinking of it packed with fans, winning championships, that was amazing. Their whole facility was just incredible.
"Their workout rooms were impressive but the strength coach, Mike Curtis, he's just tremendous. What he does with his guys is just great. I really can't wait to get down there."
Not only did the UVa coaches do a great of making their case to Jerome but they also wowed his mother and father, who were also in town for the visit.
"Coach Bennett and the whole staff really made me feel so comfortable," Jerome said. "My family felt the same way. They loved the coaches. It was a perfect fit. We got in Friday morning and stayed through Saturday afternoon/evening and the whole time, I think my parents were just kind of shocked by everything, the facilities and the campus and the coaches. They loved it."
While Jerome attended the football game on Saturday, he was asked to come back to John Paul Jones Arena to talk with Bennett and that's where he says things became very real.
"I actually left at halftime to go back to the arena and to Coach Bennett's office so we could talk," Jerome said. "Basically, he told me he was ready for my commitment and we went over film. It was really cool how he took my film and compared it to their offense. And he showed me how I would fit in. And it gave me a great idea of what my role will be.
"He also took my weaknesses and showed me how I needed to improve them," Jerome added. "I thought that was excellent, too."
Overall, it was a great couple of days for him and his family as Jerome got to see several different facets of the program, like getting to go to class on Friday with junior Justin Anderson.
"He's a real outgoing kid and he was real nice," Jerome said of Anderson. "They all were, all of the guys I got to meet. It was fun to be around them. I watched them work out on Friday in the weight room and on the court.
"Saturday morning we met with Coach Bennett again and then went over to the football game and we got to be right there when they recognized the ACC Championship team, which was really cool. I think it's great to see how successful they've been. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to be a part of a great group of guys chasing championships in the ACC. You need to be a family with a great coaching staff."
Jerome admits that it took a lot for him to not commit to Bennett and the Cavaliers while he was in town. But he went into the visit with plans of returning home without doing so.
"I wanted a chance to come home and talk things over with my family and stuff," he said. "I knew I needed to come home and think about it first. Me and my parents, we needed to talk about it and think about it a little bit more. But it was really hard to do that once Coach Bennett explained how much confidence he had in me and how much he wanted me to be a part of what he's building."
So how does Bennett plan to use Jerome once he joins the program?
"He sees me as a combo guard," Jerome said. "He likes what I can do with the ball in my hands and what I can do as a shooter. Especially in his system, I fit really well doing both of those things. He showed me how that would look and I loved it."
Jerome, who was on Grounds at the same time as fellow 2016 guard Curtis Jones, said that he knows UVa will be looking for another guard in that class. Jerome said he's a big fan of Jones and hopes he'll join him.
"I didn't get a chance to talk to him too much but I've played against him before," Jerome said. "He's a great player. And I know he's definitely somebody I could see myself playing with at the next level."