WATCH: Jaime Jaquez Jr. on Pauley Pavilion Memories, UCLA’s Goals

Arizona State visiting Westwood on the final weekend of the season conjures memories of Jaquez’s iconic game-winner his freshman year.

UCLA men’s basketball guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. spoke with reporters ahead of Wednesday morning’s practice session at the Mo Ostin Basketball Center. Jaquez talked about the Bruins making a push for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, his emotions heading into his final weekend at Pauley Pavilion, tweaking his ankle Sunday against Colorado, his relationship with his sister, Russell Stong’s importance to the team, Arizona State’s toughness and the meaning of the deflections bone.

Coach Cronin said coach Howland was here earlier in the year talking about getting the No. 1 seed in the West – how much is that ringing in your ears especially now that you’ve won the Pac-12.

Well, we got to understand the Pac-12’s not over. We still got two games left. We still got to worry about and focus on those two games. Coach Howland talking about the one seed in the West, I think that’s something that really stuck with us throughout the season. When things were getting tough, we had to always remember what we’re aiming for, and it was to get that one seed and just put us in the best position possible to win a national championship.

Emotions heading into your last two home games senior year?

Oh, man, it hasn’t even really hit me yet. I’m still just taking it as just regular – regular practice, regular games. But I’m sure when the moment comes it’s gonna hit hard.

What has Pauley meant to you in your basketball career?

It’s meant a lot. I’ve just grown so much here and in Pauley. I’ve just had so many great memories. so many great games that I can recall away from … Arizona State always pops up. Even that we’re playing them on Thursday, I know I hit the game winner there. And then I know we played them another time, we were losing the entire game and then J-Rock hit the free throw to put us ahead and that was the only time we ever led and we ended up winning. I’m sure we’re gonna have another great game on Thursday. And just, you know, good to look back on those memories and just how much fun I had playing in Pauley Pavilion.

Everyone knows what’s on the line?

Yeah, I think so. I think a lot of the seniors know as well, like this is our last two games in Pauley, we’re gonna go out with a bang. I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun, it’s gonna be a great game and can’t wait to see the fans and have a great atmosphere as well.


I got my ankle regimen down. So I’m good. I know what I was doing. I’ve been doing it even before I tweaked it a little bit, but I’m good to.

When you tweaked it, were you like ‘Oh this is nothing’?

Yeah, I kinda was like I’ve been around the block couple times. I know what to expect. I know what to do. It obviously hurts initially, but I was fine after that.

Pregame huddle with Dave?

My favorite part about them? I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of great parts. I think just him and his energy that he brings, I know Will as well, Tyger’s always funny when he gets in the middle and starts dancing. I think it’s just a great way to get our energy and our spirits lifted. And just another way to remember to have fun. We’re having fun out there.

Good luck charm?

I think so. Yeah. We’re gonna continue to do it.

You and your sister playing in March at the same time?

I’ve always known she was really good. There was never a doubt in my mind that she was never going to go to where she wanted to go. And I mean, like she wanted to go to UCLA and I never doubted that she wasn’t going to go to UCLA. And so I guess, you know, she’s young right now. I think she’s shooting it a lot better than me my freshman year from the 3-point line so that’s something that I think she does a little better.

Driveway basketball? Competitive?

Me and her, we play chess sometimes. I would play catch with her. We would always compete because we wanted to play catch but she wanted to play with a softball and I would want to play with a baseball. And we’d kind of mess around with that and see who gets to pick what ball to play with. Or like hit ground balls and stuff like that.

How important is fun?

Well, I mean, if you’re not having fun, then I wouldn’t be doing this. I have fun playing basketball, I have fun playing with my guys, and this is something that I love to do. And part of that reason I love it is because of how much fun I have. And it’s easy with a group of guys that you’ve been with for so long. And a group of guys that you’ve really made bonds and connections with for four years now. And so I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.

Senior class, what about Russ?

Russell, the mayor of Westwood. That’s who he is. He’s a hot commodity around campus, everyone knows him. He’s like the social chair. He knows everybody, everyone knows him. He just brings energy. He works just as hard as any of us. He doesn’t have to but he gets up extra shots as well in the gym. He’s always trying to get in and work hard when he’s on the scout team, he always asks us questions about like, ‘What can I do to make it more realistic? What can I do to help make this the best scout possible to help you guys win?’ So without him, I don’t think we’d be in this position as well. I know there’s a lot of guys who make impacts on the floor, but off the court impact is just as important to me. And just about team chemistry.

Arizona State?

I see another tough team. They’re always tough. They always play us tough. Like I said before, we’ve always had great games against them. They got some really talented guys, their guard play is some of the best in the league and we’re just gonna have to be ready for that and be prepared to rebound and play our best defense of the year.

Saturday night, what’s going through your mind?

I don’t know. I’ll see when I get there. Like I said, I’ve literally been taking it one day at a time. I haven’t really thought that far. Just worried about practice today. Just enjoying every moment.

Anyone joke with you that you can come back next year?

Yeah, I think some people have told me that they want me to. I mean, we’ll see. I’ve done four years here, I’m proud of the four years that I put in here.

How important is deflections bone?

I think it’s big. I think it’s a big part of UCLA now that Coach Cronin brought it over. After every single game, everyone’s arguing about who got more deflections, or how TJ missed deflections that people had. Yeah, it’s been great. It’s been a really fun addition.

Per minute or total?

Total for the game. So yeah, I think it’s like, it’s one if you hit it and then two if you get, I guess like a steal or like block and recover the block. That’s how we tally it up.

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