Ty Jerome’s parents are Mark Jerome and Melanie Walker. Both of Jerome’s parents played college basketball, so it’s easy to see how the UVA All-ACC point guard learned to play the game so well.
According to The Daily Press, Mark Jerome played basketball at Lafayette, a Division I team, and Melanie Walker played basketball at Brandeis, a Division III team.
When asked by the publication how early he started to teach his son how to play basketball, Mark replied, “When he came home from the hospital. I put a basketball in his crib, and everybody thought I was crazy. Doesn’t mean I’m not, still.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Ty Jerome on His Father’s Coaching: ‘No Coach Is Ever Going to Be Harder on Me’
To The Daily Press, Ty explained that his father was the hardest coach he’s ever played for. He said, “No coach is ever going to be harder on me than my dad was when he coached me, no matter what level. … I have a million stories to prove that.” (Per TIME, Mark was an AAU coach for a number of years.)
Mark added to The Daily Press, “Looking back on it and the mistakes I made: What was I thinking? There were lots of moments my actions weren’t appropriate. Expectations. He was 5, 6 and 7 playing against kids that were two years older, and I expected him to perform the same way.”
According to TIME, Melanie remembers the way people underestimated Ty throughout his basketball career. She described the various things parents would shout to their kids (Guard him! He can’t go past you! He’s not fast enough!”), before adding, “As Mark can attest. I got in a couple of fights.”
Leading up to the Final Four game, Mark told The Athletic that he couldn’t help but wonder what was in his son’s head. He said, “I wonder what he’s thinking. I wonder if he’s nervous, or if he’s thinking, ‘We got this.’’’
He added, “The first time he got in a game as a freshman, and you saw that name on the back — Jerome — I mean, I can’t even explain it. Now this. Look at this. It’s unreal.’’
To The Athletic’s Dana O’Neill, Mark ended his interview early when the Final Four game ended, with Virginia’s stunning last second victory. O’Neill reveals that Mark called later, saying, “This team. The character, I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe what just happened. I can’t believe what I just saw. I can’t …”
He concluded, “I’ll see you on Monday.’’