Will Jaime Jaquez Play vs. UNC? UCLA Forward’s Status For Friday’s Elite 8 (March 25)
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaime Jaquez Jr. (4).
Senior forward Jaime Jaquez has become the most important player on the UCLA Bruins team trying to reach the Final Four for the second straight year. He’s fought through injuries throughout his career, so it would be a major surprise to not see him on the court Friday night despite his ankle injury.
How much he’ll impact the game, however, is a question that remains to be seen.
Jaquez is second on the team in scoring (14 PPG) and first in rebounds (5.7 RPG). According to KenPom, Jaquez also leads the team in offensive efficiency.
On top of that, he — along with Tyger Campbell — is the emotional leader of the Bruins and can provide a major boost with his energy.
In the second round against St. Mary’s, Jaquez suffered a right ankle sprain that removed him from the rest of the game.
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez is headed to the locker room after an injury #uclabasketball #MarchMadness2022 pic.twitter.com/kJnPPKNAT9
— Lacey Brown (@laceyjanebrown) March 20, 2022
He was able to return to the bench and watched his Bruins rout the Gaels to a 72-56 victory.
Those who know Jaquez don’t doubt whether or not he’ll play in the Sweet 16 against North Carolina.
“The chances of Jaime Jaquez not playing next week are slim and none. He plays in blood. He plays in sweat. He plays and plays,” LA Times reporter Eric Sondheimer tweeted last Sunday.
As the week has gone on, that appears to be more and more true. He told reporters on Thursday that he is still “day-to-day” but he has been a full participant in practice.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. running the court during practice Thursday (via @latbbolch) https://t.co/qoGye2UMUX pic.twitter.com/aBgE2w4U5k
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) March 24, 2022
His head coach, Mick Cronin, said after the St. Mary’s game, “If he can walk, he’ll play.”
“He relishes the chance to put on that UCLA uniform,” his dad, Jaime Sr., told the LA Times. “So he’d basically have to have a broken leg for you to take him off the court.”
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