The Bruins’ star senior is one of the 20 candidates still in the running to reel in the top individual honor in college basketball.
Awards season is coming up, and one Bruin is sticking around in the national conversation.
The Los Angeles Athletic Club revealed the 20-man late season watch list for the John R. Wooden Award on Monday, and UCLA men’s basketball guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. made the cut. Jaquez was one of the 25 players to make the midseason watch list on Jan. 4, and he was also on the preseason watch list in November.
Joining Jaquez on the watch list are North Carolina forward Armando Bacot, Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis, Memphis guard Kendric Davis, Purdue center Zach Edey, Duke center Kyle Filipowski, Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, Kansas State forward Keyontae Johnson, TCU guard Mike Miles Jr., Alabama forward Brandon Miller, Iowa forward Kris Murray, Kansas State guard Markquis Nowell, Penn State guard Jalen Pickett, Houston guard Marcus Sasser, NC State guard Terquavion Smith, Gonzaga forward Drew Timme, Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe, Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis, Kansas wing Jalen Wilson and Miami (FL) guard Isaiah Wong.
Jaquez is one of two Pac-12 players in contention for the honor alongside Tubelis.
The Camarillo, California, native is leading UCLA with 16.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, and he ranks second on the team with 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. Jaquez is averaging career highs in every major count stat, in addition to shooting a career-best 49.0% from the field.
Jaquez has appeared in all 21 of the Bruins games so far this season and scored double figures in 19, leading the team to a 17-4 record and five consecutive top-10 rankings in the process.
The 6-foot-6 wing is towards the top of the Pac-12 leaderboards in several categories, ranking No. 6 in points per game, No. 6 in rebounds per game, No. 4 in steals per game, No. 6 in player efficiency rating, No. 4 in win shares, No. 6 in offensive win shares, No. 2 in defensive win shares and No. 6 in win shares per 40 minutes. On both ends of the court, Jaquez has emerged as one of the most prolific players on the West Coast and beyond.
As a result, Jaquez is in the running to become one of the 15 members of the Wooden Award national ballot, which is released at the beginning of March. From there, a pool of nearly 1,000 voters will rank their top 10 players from that shortlist.
The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced during the Elite Eight, while the winner of the Wooden Award will be revealed after the NCAA tournament.