Another Bruin is in the NBA.
UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. was selected 18th overall by the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday night.
The 22-year-old, who was among the prospects in attendance at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was among the oldest of the available players, but that’s what he thinks set him apart throughout the draft process.
“Any experience is good experience,” Jaquez said during the ESPN broadcast. “I just treat it as such. That’s what I tried to emphasize to these teams, that I have a lot of experience and a lot of games under my belt that I can use to help an NBA team in the future.”
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Jaquez becomes just the second player to graduate from a Ventura County high school (Camarillo) and be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, according to Cal-Hi Sports. The first was Simi Valley product Don MacLean, who was drafted 19th overall by the Detroit Pistons in 1992 after starring at UCLA from 1988-92.
Jaquez did have another year of college eligibility remaining due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the 2020-21 season, but he elected to forego that option and put his name into the mix for this year’s draft. The second-team All-American led the Bruins with 17.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, earning Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. The Bruins won the Pac-12 regular-season title for the first time since 2013 and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season after making the Final Four during his sophomore season.
Jaquez finished his UCLA career ranked eighth in program history in scoring (1,802 points), 11th in rebounds (842) and eighth in steals (178). During his four years, he made three All-Pac-12 teams as the Bruins went 99-36.
He is just the third Ventura County (graduated) high school player to be drafted into the NBA, joining MacLean and James Ennis, who prepped at Ventura High and was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft (50th overall) out of Long Beach State. Jamaal Wilkes played for Ventura High but graduated from Santa Barbara High in 1971.
More to come on this story.