Jaime Jaquez Jr. Active for UCLA Men’s Basketball Sweet 16 game against UNC
After a full week of speculation, the Bruins got the news they wanted.
Guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. will be active for UCLA Men’s Basketball No. 4 (27-7, 15-5 Pac-12) Sweet 16 matchup with fellow Blue Blood No. 8 North Carolina (26- 9, 15- 5 ACC) Friday. Jaquez is officially part of the starting five just six days out from spraining his right ankle, a health issue that has cropped up time and time again this season.
The Bruins announced that Jaquez was off the hook shortly after their Round of 16 victory, which Jaquez left in the second half with that sprained ankle. When the team arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday, Jaquez and coach Mick Cronin said he had the same designation.
Cronin all but confirmed that Jaquez would get dressed on Thursday afternoon, although he tempered fans and his own expectations by pointing out how his health was a question mark ahead of practice.
“Jaime is going to try, guys, I can tell you that,” Cronin said. “Unless something goes wrong today, I think he’ll give it a try. The question is whether it can be effective?
During the first 15 minutes of practice open to the media on Thursday, Jaquez was a full participant. The junior went through stretches and warm-ups in the opening period, then broke into the first group in an all-court attacking drill, hitting a few lay-ups and a 3-pointer immediately.
Jaquez’s injury troubles actually started with a possible first-half concussion against Colorado on Dec. 1, but he didn’t miss a moment after sitting out the rest of that win. A month later, however, Jaquez sprained his ankle against Long Beach State and he did not play against Oregon State the following week.
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Another ankle injury against Stanford limited him to seven minutes in that Jan. 29 game, but it didn’t cost him any extra appearances.
Jaquez continued to play with braces on both ankles and Cronin limited him to 17 minutes against Washington. There was a three-game streak in mid-February where Jaquez averaged just 4.3 points per game, but he has since reinvented his game to become more of a post presence and carry UCLA to several victories almost single-handedly.
Even with all the injuries, Jaquez made the All-Pac-12 first team and the All-Pac-12 defensive team while being named one of the five finalists for the Julius Erving Award which goes to the best small forward in the world. country.
Coming out of the four regular season games that Jaquez has left early or been heavily managed, he’s averaging 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game on the year. UCLA has won seven of eight games, and Jaquez is averaging 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 52.8 percent from the field in those contests.
In the Bruins’ 2021 Final Four, Jaquez averaged 15.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per night on 49% shooting from 2 and 45% from of 3.
Jaquez did his best to replicate those numbers again in March, averaging 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. 2022. He was UCLA’s second leading scorer against No. 13 seed Akron and No. 5 seed St. Mary’s.
With a denunciation against North Carolina momentarily coming up and Jaquez officially active, the Camarillo native will have a chance to up those averages and get UCLA into the Elite Eight for the second year in a row.
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