Making history has been a predominant theme for the Virginia men’s basketball program in 2019.
In April, the Cavaliers won the first national championship in program history while setting a school record for wins in a season with 35.
On Thursday night in Brooklyn, De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy made a little more history for the Wahoos when they heard their names called in the NBA draft.
Hunter was chosen with the No. 4 pick by the Los Angeles Lakers but will be traded to the Atlanta Hawks in July, when NBA trades can be officially finalized. Jerome and Guy also were part of draft trades.
Jerome went to the Philadelphia 76ers with the 24th overall pick but is headed to the Phoenix Suns, while Guy was selected in the second round by the New York Knicks with the No. 55 pick, but will go to the Sacramento Kings.
Hunter and Jerome became the first two Virginia players to be selected in the first round of the same NBA draft in school history. They also are the first former UVA players to be taken in the first round of the NBA draft since Justin Anderson went to the Dallas Mavericks with the 21st overall pick in 2015. Anderson and Hunter are expected to be teammates with the Atlanta Hawks.
Hunter became the Virginia basketball program’s highest NBA draft pick since Ralph Sampson was selected first overall by the Houston Rockets in 1983.
Hunter, Jerome and Guy arrived at Virginia in 2016 as part of one of coach Tony Bennett’s most heralded recruiting classes.
“We came to UVA and said we wanted to win a national championship and get drafted together... that’s special,” Guy wrote in a heartfelt message to Jerome and Hunter on Instagram on Wednesday. “Not many people can say they did that.”
Hunter said that he, Guy and Jerome kept in contact prior to the draft through a group text.
“Yeah, we texted right before the draft,” Hunter said. “Ran a group message. We were telling each other how excited we were for each other. We’ve been waiting for this moment for our entire lives.”
Hunter, Jerome and Guy’s selections gave the Cavaliers three picks in the same draft for the first time since 1987, when Olden Polynice (Chicago), Andrew Kennedy (Philadelphia) and Tom Sheehey (Boston) were taken in the first, second and fourth rounds, respectively.
Hunter said his three years at Virginia, which included a redshirt season, then a season-ending wrist injury prior to the Cavaliers’ NCAA tournament loss to UMBC in 2018, then the national championship in his redshirt sophomore season, helped him grow as a basketball player and a person.
“I feel like I’ve been through it all kind of in a sense,” Hunter said, “from redshirting, to the next year not playing as much, not playing great, not getting a lot of minutes really, to getting hurt again in the tournament, losing like that in the tournament. It taught me a lot.”
While Hunter and Jerome went in the first round, Guy had to wait until late in the second round until his name was called. It didn’t make the moment any less special for Guy, who decided to stay in the NBA draft despite the distinct possibility that he may go undrafted.
“[Man it] feels good to be a King,” Guy wrote on Twitter on Friday. “Really excited for a new career in Sacramento. NO PARACHUTE. Always bet on yourself. Can’t wait to get started.”
- Former UVA guard Marial Shayok was taken in the second round, 54th overall, by the Sixers. Shayok played the first three years of his career with the Cavaliers, before transferring and playing his senior season at Iowa State this past year. The 6-6, 198-pounder started all 34 games he played for the Cyclones this past season, averaging 18.7 points and 4.9 rebounds.
- North Carolina’s Kenny Williams, a former L.C. Bird standout, signed a free agent deal with the Spurs. Williams started 94 of the 129 games in which he played at UNC, and finished with career averages of 7.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists.