Mick Cronin says Jaime Jaquez 'going to want to try and play' Sweet 16 vs. UNC
The biggest question mark for UCLA as it prepares to face North Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Friday is the status of UCLA’s most important player.
Jaime Jaquez missed practice on Tuesday after suffering a sprained ankle in the Bruins’ second-round win over Saint Mary’s last Saturday. Jaquez himself said Thursday during media availability that he’s still considered day-to-day. Head coach Mick Cronin told reporters that Jaquez is going to test his ankle, but it sounds as if he’s still dealing with discomfort.
Mick Cronin on UCLA star Jaime Jaquez's ankle: "He’s going to want to try and play. The question is: Can he be effective?"
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) March 24, 2022
#UCLA coach Mick Cronin on Jaime Jaquez's status: "We're going to try and have him do some stuff today."
— Bruin Report Online (@BruinReport) March 24, 2022
After availability, Jaquez was on the court with the team moving around.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. running the court. pic.twitter.com/qqXocox4z5
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) March 24, 2022
The 6-foot-7 forward left last Saturday’s game with less than 7 minutes remaining after turning his ankle. He did not return to the game, though he did eventually come back to the bench with his foot wrapped in ice.
“Trust me, if he can walk, he’ll play,” Cronin said after the game. “Most guys that had what he has would have sat the rest of the season out. He’s had so many sprained ankles, I don’t know how much you can sprain it anymore. We’ll see. Fortunate we’ve got until next Friday.”
Jaquez has appeared in 33 games this season for the Bruins, but he has dealt with nagging ankle issues all throughout the year. Still, he has managed 30 minutes a night and 14 points a game. He has developed into UCLA’s most important player as the games got bigger and has scored at least 10 points in 10 straight. Since a loss to Oregon on Feb. 24, he has averaged 20.5 points in eight games and shot north of 50% from the field five times.
UCLA and North Carolina take the court Friday at 6:39 p.m. PT on CBS.