In a broad sense, Jaime Jaquez is college basketball. A 6'7, 225 pound forward from Los Angeles,  the 22 year old Jaquez has quietly become of the best UCLA players of the last 25 years, transforming from a guileless grit merchant as a freshman to the lynchpin of a title contender as a senior. Averaging 17.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, Jaquez was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and made second-team All-American. Although Jaquez isn't a surefire top five pick in the 2023 NBA Draft like Brandon Miller, he's played so well for so long that it's impossible to imagine him not finding a way to stick in the NBA. Still, this tournament is probably the last time in Jaquez's basketball life that he'll be the undisputed alpha of a team this good. Savor it while you can.


Jaime Jaquez is a winner. Over his four years at UCLA, he's made at least the Sweet 16 in all three years there's been an NCAA Tournament. While Jaquez has always been a master of the little things, he's gradually rounded into a true primary scorer thanks to his rare mixture of ball-handling, physicality and moxie, steadily upping his scoring average each year. UCLA's 21st ranked offense is premised on the basic assumption that college defenses simply don't have the bodies or discipline to contain him. He's the queen on UCLA's chessboard, an all-terrain weapon who's equally at ease eluding big men who aren't used to guarding the front end of a pick-and-roll as he is discarding underweight guards who try to match up with him in the post. As such, he was UCLA's leading scorer and rebounder (his 2.6 offensive rebounds per game are particularly impressive) and second on the team in steals and assists.

Defensively, Jaquez is as good at preventing mismatches as he is at creating them on offense. With Jaylen Clark (UCLA's best defender and one of the country's best on-ball stoppers) out for the postseason, Jaquez has assumed the mantle of UCLA's defensive leader; he's always been the most vocal and hyper-aware defender, but he now takes on the toughest assignments as well. Outside of the brawniest center and the slipperiest guards, Jaquez can guard just about anybody in the country, even holding his own against Arizona's Azuolas Tubelis in the Pac-12 Tournament finals.


Whereas Jaquez's strengths are mostly concentrated in intangible, subtle traits, his two major weaknesses are much more obvious. By NBA standards, he's not very athletic and he's not a very good shooter. Without elite burst off the dribble, his brand of on-ball creation won't really be possible at the next level since he'll be guarded by like-sized wings rather than mismatched bigs and guards. Without reliable three-point range, he won't be as useful in the NBA once the ball is taken out of his hands. Similarly, he's old for a prospect after having turned 22 last month. Accordingly, he never profiles to be anything more than a role player and even that would require significant development and faith from whichever team picks him in the 2023 NBA Draft. Simply put, if he can't ever become a good shooter, he probably won't ever be a high-minute NBA player.


Even outside of his exploits at UCLA, Jaime Jaquez is a Los Angeles basketball legend, in large part because he's the torch bearer for a legendary basketball family. Jaquez is a third-generation college basketball player—his grandfather played at Northern Arizona University and his parents met in college when they both played at Concordia University. Most impressive, his younger sister, Gabriela, was named co-MVP of last year's McDonalds All-American Girls Game and is now a forward on UCLA's women's team. Together, the Jaquezes became the first brother-sister duo to make the Sweet 16 at the same school.

Jaime Jaquez 2023 NBA Draft outlook

Assuming Jaquez declares for the NBA Draft, most major draftniks and mock drafts have him floating somewhere between the end of the first round and the beginning of the second. His role at UCLA won't translate to the NBA, but his sensibility will—there will always be room for tough, smart wings in the NBA. If guys like Jae Crowder, Grant Williams, Kenrich Williams can carve out long and lucrative careers, Jaquez should be able to do the same.