Suns Sign Johnson, Jerome, Lecque
The Phoenix Suns announced today the club has signed 2019 first-round picks Cameron Johnson and Ty Jerome, as well as rookie Jalen Lecque (pronounced luh-Q).
Johnson and Jerome are with the team but will not participate at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Lecque and the Summer Suns next play tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. PT against New York on ESPN.
“Cam and Ty will immediately integrate into the Suns offseason development program with their teammates. After careful consideration, they will not participate in the Summer League games. They have not had the adequate opportunities to practice and train with our team. We are excited to have them with us and look forward to seeing them play this upcoming season,” said Suns General Manager James Jones.
Johnson, possessing a quick release and widely considered the best shooter in the 2019 NBA Draft, was North Carolina’s leading scorer in 2018-19 while helping the Tar Heels to a share of the ACC regular-season title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. He led the ACC and ranked seventh in the nation by shooting 45.7% from three-point range, the fifth-highest single-season mark in UNC history, while his 96 total three-point makes were the second-most in a single season in program history. The 23-year-old earned 2018-19 All-ACC First Team honors, averaging 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals, shooting 50.6% from the field and 81.8% from the free throw line in addition to his three-point marksmanship.
The 6-9, 205-pound wing played his final two seasons at North Carolina after playing his first three collegiate seasons at Pittsburgh. Over his two seasons in Chapel Hill, Johnson averaged 15.0 points on 41.1% from beyond the arc and 82.8% from the stripe, the sixth- and 11th-highest shooting marks, respectively, in UNC history. Johnson averaged 11.9 points on 41.5% shooting from three-point territory in his third and final season at Pitt in 2016-17, then graduated with honors in three years and was able to transfer to North Carolina without missing a season. A native of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, Johnson completed his high school career at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, where he averaged 27.8 points as a senior to earn second-team Class A all-state honors. Both his parents played college basketball as his mother, Amy Schuler Johnson, scored over 1,000 points at Kent State and his father, Gilbert Johnson, also played at Pitt.
Jerome, a do-it-all guard with exceptional court vision and feel for the game, guided Virginia to its first NCAA Championship and a school-record 35 wins this past season. He led the ACC with 5.5 assists per game in addition to averaging 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals while ranking fifth in the ACC by shooting 39.9% from three-point range and fifth in the nation with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.31. The 21-year-old was named to the 2019 Final Four All-Tournament Team and the All-South Regional Team as he averaged 16.5 points, 6.0 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in six NCAA tournament games, recording 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds and just one turnover in the national championship victory over Texas Tech. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in two games at the Final Four in Minneapolis; according to Sports Reference, Jerome joined Oscar Robertson (1959, 1960) and Magic Johnson (1979) as the only players to average at least 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists at a Final Four.
The 6-5, 195-pound guard played three seasons at Virginia, starting all 71 of his appearances over the past two seasons as the Cavaliers posted a 66-6 (.917) overall record, culminating in the national title in 2019. For his career, he averaged 9.6 points, 3.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals, while shooting 43.5% from the field, 39.2% from three-point range and 78.8% from the free throw line. Jerome was named to the All-ACC Second Team in 2018-19 and Third Team in 2017-18. The New York, New York native played high school ball at Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, New York, earning first-team all-state honors as a junior. Both his parents played college basketball as his mother, Melanie Walker, played at Brandeis and his father, Mark Jerome, played at Lafayette.
Lecque, an explosive athlete at guard, was an early entry candidate for the 2019 NBA Draft after playing a post-graduate season at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire in 2018-19. The 6-4, 185-pound guard led Brewster to the 2019 National Prep Championship where he was named the tournament’s MVP. He averaged 12.7 points on 55.5% shooting, 4.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 40 total games at Brewster, earning an invite to the 2019 Jordan Brand Classic, though he elected to skip the event to prepare for the draft.
The 19-year-old turned heads at the 2019 NBA Draft Combine where he recorded a max vertical leap of 43 inches, the best at the event in either of the last two years, and measured a 6-9 wingspan. Lecque was a blue-chip recruit who had committed to play at North Carolina State prior to entering the 2019 NBA Draft. The New York, New York native played high school ball at Monsignor Scanlan High School in The Bronx and Christ School in Arden, North Carolina before reclassifying to the 2019 recruiting class and playing one season at Brewster.