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Men’s basketball’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. to return to UCLA for senior season

Jaime Jaquez Jr. drives against North Carolina forward Brady Manek in the Sweet 16 on March 25. The UCLA men’s basketball junior guard/forward announced his decision to return for his senior season in a video posted to social media Monday. (David Rimer/Assistant Photo editor)

By Jon Christon

April 18, 2022 2:55 p.m.

This post was updated April 19 at 1:20 p.m.

The Bruins’ postseason leading scorer is coming back for some “unfinished business.”

UCLA men’s basketball junior guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. is returning for his senior season with the program, he announced in a video posted to social media Monday afternoon. A projected 2022 NBA Draft selection entering the offseason, Jaquez will return to Westwood with two years of eligibility remaining.

“I came to UCLA to win a national championship. Shouldn’t that be the goal? I want to hang banner number 12 in Pauley Pavilion,” Jaquez said in the video. “I’m coming back.”

Jaquez is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 13.9 points and a team-leading 5.7 rebounds per game, earning an All-Pac-12 First Team selection. He ended the campaign by scoring nearly 20 points a night in his final nine games, helping lead the Bruins to the Pac-12 championship game and the Sweet 16.

An ankle injury hampered Jaquez for much of the year, forcing him to miss practice throughout the season – including in the week leading up to the Sweet 16 loss to North Carolina.

“It was frustrating, but I’m proud of how my brothers stuck together,” Jaquez said in the video. “We powered through. We didn’t reach our ultimate goal, but we gave it our all. We left everything on the court.”

The guard/forward also earned an All-Pac-12 designation in his sophomore year, averaging 12.3 points per game as UCLA’s second-leading scorer.

Jaquez currently sits 49th on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,143 career points.

“Jaime has been a tremendous and tenacious player in our program for three years, and we are thrilled that he will come back for his senior season in Westwood,” said coach Mick Cronin in a statement. “Jaime has a chance to go down with so many other great Bruins in UCLA history who have played four seasons in front of the Pauley Pavilion faithful.”

The Bruins are still waiting on a professional decision from junior guard Johnny Juzang, who tested the draft waters a year ago but still ranks in the top five in numerous preseason polls for next season. UCLA has lost freshman guard/forward Peyton Watson to the draft and junior guard/forward Jake Kyman to the transfer portal.

Jaquez will share Pauley Pavilion with his sister next season, as five-star forward Gabriela Jaquez is set to join UCLA women’s basketball in the fall.

“UCLA has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember,” Jaquez said in the video. “It’s very special to me to put on that jersey with my family’s name on the back. But to represent those four letters on the front has been a dream come true.”

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Jon Christon | Sports senior staff
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
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