The senior put up 20 points Saturday against California and is in contention to win Pac-12 Player of the Year.
UCLA men’s basketball guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. spoke with reporters ahead of Tuesday morning’s practice session at the Mo Ostin Basketball Center. Jaquez talked about celebrating his birthday after Saturday night’s win, his college career winding down, his relationship with Amari Bailey and the upcoming road trip to the mountain schools.
Who blew out the candles on cake for you and Amari?
I think both of us. He blew out the candles first and then I got in there a little late. I was doing some media duties, but I got to blow out the candles too.
Did you make a wish? What was it?
Yeah, I can’t tell you. (Laughs) I think you can figure it out, I think you can figure it out.
Wistful about conclusion of career?
It’s bittersweet, I think. I’m very excited, I’m very eager to play. I want March to start already. But at the same time, I’m trying to take my sweet time with it and enjoy every moment. We got one last road trip coming up here, so we’re going to make the most of it. I think we’re going to go watch Ant-Man on the road, we’re there for a little bit. So really just enjoy the time with the guys, enjoy the time.
Example of Amari being a goofball off the court?
He laughs a lot. We got a lot of jokesters on the team, a lot of funny guys. He’s one of the guys that always be cracking jokes and laughing at whatever we say and always putting in input. He’s just really lowkey about his stuff. He doesn’t necessarily … I don’t know how to explain it, you just got to be there. You just got to be there to know. He’s a really funny guy.
Is the whole team feeling like this is a good moment to enjoy?
Yeah, I think we got a really good chemistry going on right now, a lot of great energy from the young guys and the old guys. We understand that it’s winning time right now. This is where you put in all the hard work for now, this time of the year. It’s crucial, it’s crucial. Us older guys understand that, and we’re still trying to make sure that the young guys understand that as well. This is winning time.
How do you avoid looking past these games vs. Utah and Colorado?
It’s not an easy two games to play at. I know Utah and Colorado are very, very fun environments and difficult environments to play in as well. We just got to understand, that, you know we got to take it one game at a time still. That’s something that we’ve done all four years that I’ve been here. Just take it one game at a time.
Measured after last week?
I didn’t. I should’ve, I should’ve remembered.
What would a perfect home record mean for you?
It would mean that we closed out the season with a perfect home record. As long as we get the national championship, that’s all that really matters to me.