Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Keeping It Real With: Ty Jerome: Iona Prep Basketball

On a full scale, Iona Prep has become an accurate depiction of the walking wounded in 2013-14.

With the season-ending torn labrum to Matt Ryan, an efficient and high-scoring 6-foot-6 three-point assailant and heavily pursued recruit, Iona Prep's expectations were toned down a notch. 

The torn labrum is in Ryan's right hip. The Duke and Notre Dame target will soon go under the knife. 

While the club's spirits were dampened by the loss of their go-to option and volume kick out shooter, the return of Ty Jerome now has the Gaels giddy. 

Jerome, a facilitating sophomore guard, has bounced back from a debilitating injury.

 The hand that rocks the floor-spreading game with deep 3-pointers and precise passes is no longer encased in a cast.  

Torn ligaments in his thumb relegated him to the role of spectator. Now Jerome is cherishing every moment he laces up the kicks. 

He's ready to right the ship, which the critics envisioned sinking like quick sand without Ryan stretching out the floor and drilling jumpers.  

Jerome is a point guard by trade. He takes pride in anchoring the club with and away from the ball, embodying the score-first role when his number is called.

 His ability to snipe from beyond the arc is pivotal, though Jerome said he's often more content to make teammates beneficiaries of his presence.

Iona Prep's offense is empowered by fluid ball movement, predicated on feeding kickout shooters and finding seams in the lane.  

Movement and spacing are key components of the system, making Jerome's deft shooting touch and knack for self-creation via the dribble that much more crucial to the Gaels' identity. 

Jerome holds a 96 GPA and spends the off-season plying his trade across the country with New Heights AAU Basketball. 

 Offers from Columbia, Princeton, Fordham, Manhattan, Hofstra and Stony Brook are currently on the table.

 A steady stockpile of Ivy League and Patriot League programs have expressed interest.

 Dartmouth, Bucknell, Buffalo, Holy Cross, Fairfield, Temple, George Washington, and a bevy of others have all inquired about the 16-year-old Jerome. 

We caught up with Jerome, keeping it real on the current state of the Gaels, which he hopes to make a triumphant return with.

Jerome on The Team's Current Focus 

Well, we just took Cardinal Hayes to overtime. We were up six, with two minutes left. 

From here on, we want to just have great practices, build and go game by game.

We think every game is winnable. Obviously, having Matt would help tremendously but he's out and other guys are stepping up. He's doing a great job as another coach. We just want to win from here on out.

Jerome On His Role 

On this team, I'm the leader and the point guard. My job is to be the anchor. When things aren't going well, I have to rally my team back.

I love having the ball in my hands and I see myself as a point guard in the future.

I have no problem, however, running the wing. A point guard doesn't have to have the ball in his hands. He just needs to be a leader and keep the team together and make plays.

On His Experience Being Injured 

It was very frustrating seeing us lose to Stepinac twice, but I really have to give credit to everyone that has stepped up (in my absence). 

We were able to beat Fordham at Fordham. 

What I can take from this experience is to just be grateful and hungry. Every time I step on the court (practice, scrimmage, or game) I need to be locked in.

On The Toughest Player He's Faced 

I've played against a lot of great players, but I would have to say Isaiah Whitehead. He has a complete game, he'll get to the rim with ease, pull from NBA range or pull-up at any spot mid-range.

On The Team's Offensive System 

I love it. Coach (Vic Quirolo) puts the ball in my hands for the majority of the game. I get to make plays, look for teammates. When we share the ball, there's nothing better.

On His Strongest Influences 

I 've been very fortunate to have amazing people in my corner. 

My Dad and Mom have been pushing me to workout and driving me anywhere I needed to be, since a young age. 

I've also crossed upon many great coaches and role models, such as Koby Altman. As to who I try to model my game around, I couldn't pick one person. I try to study many point guards and great shooters and value their game. 

I pay attention to what point guards do off the pick-and-roll, how shooters get open. I also love watching guys that want to win, love their teammates, and will make the extra pass. 

Some players I love watching are Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Chris Paul.

On His Funniest Teammate

Definitely Tommy (Capuano). I've been playing with him since second grade and he's been my brother ever since. He will make you laugh at any time.