By: Nathan Geng
Jaime Jaquez Jr, a rising star in the world of basketball, is poised to enter the realm of professional play with a sense of determination and self-assurance. From fighting for playing time just a few years ago to becoming a beloved figure in UCLA basketball history, Jaquez is ready to prove his worth and showcase his talents on the NBA stage.
With invitations from nine teams for pre-draft workouts, Jaquez has already impressed with his exceptional skills and received positive feedback from various organizations. While he believes he has made a strong impression, he understands that the ultimate decision lies with the general managers who hold his fate in their hands.
During his senior season, Jaquez dominated the Pac-12 conference, earning the prestigious Player of the Year award. His leadership led UCLA to remarkable achievements, including Final Four and Sweet 16 appearances. Concluding his UCLA career with an impressive 1802 points, Jaquez has left an indelible mark on the university.
A recent workout session with former Lakers forward Juan Toscano-Anderson has served as a powerful reminder for Jaquez of his potential to become a trailblazer as a Mexican American basketball player. Inspired by the opportunity to represent an underrepresented group, Jaquez aims to inspire and encourage the next generation of Mexican basketball players to pursue their dreams in the sport.
Jaquez recognizes that getting drafted is just the beginning of his journey and understands the importance of continuously earning his place in the lineup, as he did during his time at UCLA. However, he views the draft as a positive starting point and eagerly anticipates the opportunity to introduce himself to a new fan base and establish himself as a household name.
As he prepares to embark on his NBA career, Jaquez embraces the challenge of starting as a rookie and looks forward to making his mark in the professional league. With unwavering confidence and a determination to succeed, Jaquez is ready to seize the opportunities that lie ahead and leave a lasting impact on the world of basketball.