Mick Cronin updates status of UCLA forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. ahead of Sweet 16
In Friday’s battle of Blue Bloods—a meeting between UCLA and North Carolina at the Sweet 16 that might be the most exciting matchup on the docket—the health of Bruin forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. looms as the biggest storyline.
Jaquez turned his ankle and was forced from UCLA’s second-round win over Saint Mary’s this past Saturday. On Tuesday, he did not practice with the team, according to The LA Times’ Ben Bolch. Jaquez’s status for Friday’s game remains day-to-day.
Mick Cronin said Jaime Jaquez Jr. didn’t practice today, remains day to day.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) March 22, 2022
Here’s Jaquez walking to the team bus as the Bruins ready to depart for Philadelphia.
#UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez walking to the bus on campus, taking the team to the airport Tuesday, and off to the Sweet 16. pic.twitter.com/hPcMknYRkO
— Bruin Report Online (@BruinReport) March 22, 2022
(Surely the biggest news of the day this is that it appears UCLA’s star forward was actually able to cop the Cool Grey 11s. It sure pays to be a Jordan athlete.)
UCLA plays UNC on Friday, with tipoff set for shortly after 6:30 p.m. PT on CBS. The Bruins are a slight favorite in the game (2.5 points), but that could swing a bit if he’s unavailable.
“Trust me, if he can walk, he’ll play,” coach Mick Cronin said after Saturday’s 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 and averaged 14 points a night. He has been a late-season dynamo for them, though, scoring at least 10 points in 10 straight games. 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.