UCLA star had surgery after 2021-22 season ended, per report
The new college basketball season is still a ways away, but UCLA head coach Mick Cronin told CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein recently that none of Jaime Jaquez Jr., Mac Etienne, or Will McClendon have been cleared for a full return to basketball-related activities.
Jaquez, according to Rothstein, had surgery to address ankle concerns after the season ended. Etienne and McClendon are both coming off of ACL injuries. Etienne tore his right ACL in late October and missed the entire season. McClendon tore the same ligament in his left knee in September, an injury that also cost him the entire season.
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez (ankle), Mac Etienne (knee), & Will McClendon (knee) have still not been fully cleared for all basketball related activities, per Mick Cronin.
Jaquez had surgery following the season.
Both Etienne & McClendon are former Top-100 recruits who DNP last season.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 29, 2022
Jaquez was bothered by ankle issues this past season, but still managed to appear in 34 of the team’s 35 games. The star forward averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 boards, and 2.3 assists. In April, Jaquez announced his return for a fourth season with the Bruins. The expectation is that Jaquez will lead UCLA to another top finish in the Pac-12. With health, he could experience an All-American/Pac-12 Player of the Year kind of season.
That he hasn’t yet been cleared to return to the court with the season still more than four months away isn’t a terrible concern.
But the status of Etienne is different. With departures from Myles Johnson and Cody Riley, the UCLA frontcourt is thin. Johnson and Riley rotated at the 5 last season. Adem Bona, a 5-star signee for UCLA this past cycle, should be able to step in and fill a role right away—however substantial—but depth will be important.
The 6-foot-10 Etienne was a top-50 recruit in the 2020 cycle, but he’s only made 13 appearances for the Bruins since joining the program. During the 2020-21 season, he averaged 2.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 11 minutes a night. He played a total of 13 minutes during the team’s NCAA Tournament run.
UCLA will seemingly look to him and Bona to replace the roles that Riley and Johnson played last season. Beyond them, the Bruins also have 6-foot-10 big man Kenneth Nwuba, but he has yet to play much of a role in his first four years with the program.
The 6-foot-2 McClendon was a top-60 recruit from the 2021 class. UCLA has a bit more depth at guard than it does at forward, with the return of Tyger Campbell, Jaylen Clark, and David Singleton. The 2022 class also welcomes 5-star combo guard Amari Bailey and 4-star guard Dylan Andrews.